Sean McComb determined to continue his rapid rise after unscheduled and unwanted break

By Michael MorrowBBC Sport NI
Sean McComb
McComb moved his professional record to 10-0 with an impressive stopage victory over Mauro Maximiliano Godoy in February

All things considered, Sean McComb appreciates that he remains in a strong position despite boxing's unplanned and indefinite delay.

At 27, the undefeated fighter knows his career is likely to resume with his best years still in front of him while a highly productive first 18 months as a professional have left him reasonably well covered financially.

"I'm happy where I'm at. Still unbeaten, still healthy and still enjoying it," reflects the Belfast lightweight.

"Financially I'm comfortable, I haven't got an awful lot of outgoings and I'm a good saver.

"I'm in a good position in terms of my age and where I'm at in my career."

The problem, though, is that McComb had not been planning on reflecting or taking stock of how things were going any time soon.

Since joining the professional ranks his career has been in a constant ascent having delivered the majority of his 10 wins in considerable style and with minimal fuss.

Even for a leading Irish amateur it has been a head-turning start to life in the pro's, the type of performances that will demand title opportunities sooner rather than later.

Therefore on a professional level McComb's response to the current situation is not one of great sorrow or concern, but immense frustration.

"The momentum and the hype was kicking in with me," he says.

"I was starting to really enjoy it, and the fact that I was fighting people that nobody really knows and still getting that hype was brilliant.

"I was looking at having three or four fights by the end of the year, then moving into next year going towards big, big titles.

"I'm talking about top 10 in the world here."

Sean McComb
McComb has been extremely active since his professional debut in August 2018

'I'm not interested in getting the rust off'

After leaving the amateur scene following the 2018 Commonwealth Games, McComb's blueprint to building early momentum was simple: Regular fights, each one more difficult than the last, never stand still.

So far he has followed that formula to the letter, and his next bout was supposed to be against his most dangerous opponent yet, former European lightweight champion Craig Evans.

However the contest set for 25 April has been put on hold until such a time that boxing can safely return.

True to form, McComb is not planning for a gentle reintroduction to life inside the ropes.

The way he sees it, he cannot stop the pandemic putting his plans on hold, but he won't let it force him into moving backwards.

"As long as it's a step forward, I'll accept any fight at all off the back of this," he insists.

"I don't want to come through this pandemic after however long it may be and for someone to say 'let's have an easy fight to start to get the rust off'.

"I'm not interested in getting the rust off, I lose the rust in sparring, every fight in my career up to now has been a step up in class.

"If an opportunity comes at any level, I'll take it with two hands no matter what.

"If your opponent hasn't boxed in 6-8 months because of this, he's going to be rusty too so we'd be on the same level."

Sean McComb
'The Public Nuisance' is hoping to fight for "big titles" in 2021

'I'd fight tonight if I could'

As McComb has moved through the gears in the sport, so too has his fanbase.

The west Belfast native is becoming accustomed to raucous crowds at shows in the Ulster Hall, while he appeared among a host of local favourites on last summer's memorable Falls Park show headlined by Michael Conlan.

McComb accepts that whenever the time to fight comes around, it will likely do so without the accompanying fanfare.

Packed out venues are off the table for now, and in an imperfect environment McComb will favour any decision that accelerates a return to action.

"I would fight tonight," he says.

"When you're in the ring you block out the atmosphere anyway.

"Obviously the crowd are brilliant, and they're good for the sport, but when you're in there and fully focussed all you're thinking about is your opponent and what you're going to do next."

For now though McComb must, like everyone else, make do as best he can, with a punchbag and a self-set training schedule to keep himself ticking over.

The training process, he says, is perhaps more about maintaining mental focus with the knowledge that the craft itself is going nowhere.

"I'm pulling myself together every day just to get some training in but psychologically it's really tough, just because it's not something I'm really used to.

"For me, if I went into camp tomorrow I would be back to my old self in three or four weeks.

"A couple of tough spars and you're back to yourself, it's a lot of muscle memory."

Like he has done from the moment he turned professional, Sean McComb is looking forwards, chomping at the bit to take his talents to the next level.

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