Published: 17/02/2017 16:00 - Updated: 16/02/2017 12:12

British title fight comes at perfect time for Highland heavyweight Gary Cornish

Written byJamie Durent


Gary Cornish has a British title fight with Sam Sexton pencilled in for the summer. Picture: Alasdair Allen.
Gary Cornish has a British title fight with Sam Sexton pencilled in for the summer. Picture: Alasdair Allen.

THE timing of Gary Cornish’s British heavyweight title contest will come at a perfect time for the Highlander.

That is the view of his new manager Sam Kynoch, who believes his newest acquisition will be ready for the bout with Sam Sexton in June.

Cornish and Sexton are the mandatory challengers for the title, which was vacated by Dillian Whyte last month. Purse bids are due in by March 7, following which a date and venue can be confirmed.

He makes his return to the ring this weekend under the MTK (previously MGM) Scotland banner, facing ‘The Georgian Hammer’ Revaz Karelishvili in Paisley tomorrow night.

Kynoch concedes that Cornish is in somewhat of a “must-win” situation against Karelishvili, in that if he loses, the British Boxing Board of Control may reassess his credentials as the mandatory title challenger.

However, he has full confidence in Cornish to see off the Georgian, who has an 8-1 record, and secure his headline bout with Sexton in the summer.

“I’ve got every confidence in him to produce the goods and then it’s onwards and upwards from there,” said Kynoch. “We’re keen not to look too much beyond Saturday night.

“It’s hard to get title shots so to get it so soon into his time with us is fantastic. It’s come at just the right time for Gary – he’s fully dedicated himself and it might seem early in his new management setup, but he’s not a novice. He’s had 24 fights and will have at least 25 by the time he gets to fight Sexton.

“Once the purse bids are in then we can determine where and when it will take place. We’ll just have to see how things end up.

“But if he were to come away with the British title then it would be massive for himself, us and Scottish boxing. As a community man, it would be big for the Highlands too.”

Sexton has lost his two previous attempts to gain the British title, to David Price and Dereck Chisora, while Cornish suffered his only career defeat at the hands of Anthony Joshua, for the Commonwealth title, in September 2015.

Cornish is on the ‘Impetus’ bill at the Paisley Lagoon Leisure Centre tomorrow night and it marks his first contest since June last year.

Since then, he has relocated to Glasgow, lived with his new coach Billy Nelson and dedicated himself to a full-time training programme.

The Merkinch heavyweight reached a crossroads in his career last year. But with the support of family and his Inverness-based coaching team of Andy Young and Paul Geddes, made the decision to uproot himself and throw everything at achieving his boxing dream.

Cornish faces Georgian Revaz Karelishvili in Paisley tomorrow night. Picture: Alasdair Allen.
Cornish faces Georgian Revaz Karelishvili in Paisley tomorrow night. Picture: Alasdair Allen.

“He’s been excellent,” added Kynoch. “The very fact he took himself away from home comforts and his family to train and put the requisite work in has been very impressive.

“He’s shown himself willing to progress and reap the rewards from that. There’s been no issues with him fulfilling obligations or communicating.

“Our success is going to be defined by what Gary does and vice-versa. It’s not as if he’s stagnant at the end of his career – we’re both ambitious and singing off the same hymn sheet.”

Kynoch visited Inverness last month with Cornish to scout potential venues for a show in the Highland capital before the end of the year, with promising results.

“There’s definite scope for a show up there,” he added. “Gary’s doing a lot of community work and it’s all of his own volition. He’s not been instructed to do it.”

Alongside Highland Boxing Academy’s head coach Liam Foy, Cornish will deliver lessons to schoolchildren later this year.

n For reaction and pictures from Saturday night, see Tuesday’s Inverness Courier.

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