Despite having just nine fights in the professional ranks, Jack McGann has already experienced one of the more unique career paths in boxing.
Having grown up around mixed martial arts and competed in 16 professional MMA bouts, McGann transitioned to boxing in 2018 and is currently undefeated at 8-0-1.
The 30-year-old will kick off the undercard for the controversial heavyweight fight between Tyson Fury and former UFC champion Francis Ngannou this weekend in Saudi Arabia where he faces Alcibiade Duran, son of boxing legend Roberto.
🥊 @JackMcGann93 is ready to prove MMA Strikers can prove themselves in boxing, just like another person headlining this card! 👀#BattleOfTheBaddest | Saturday | TNT Sports Box Office pic.twitter.com/mCrn70onXK
— Queensberry Promotions (@Queensberry) October 26, 2023
The British Boxing Board of Control also recently approved him as the next mandatory challenger for Samuel Antwi’s British light-middleweight title, but the Liverpool fighter insists nothing will distract him from the task at hand.
“I’m not thinking one day past October 28th,” McGann told MerseySportLive.
“I can switch onto Antwi and the belt after that, but I’ve got a job to do.”
For many fighters at this stage of their career, competing so far from home on one of the biggest cards of the year would be daunting. But McGann simply chalks it off as another experience to take in his stride.
His MMA career took him from his father’s gym in Widnes, where legendary fighters Michael Bisping and Quinton Jackson would regularly train, to a multi-fight deal which saw him compete five times in Russia.
Looking back on those fights, McGann – nicknamed ‘The Pilgrim’ – believes tapping into that experience will give him the edge.
“If this was my first time doing it, it would have taken its toll mentally but luckily I’ve done it before,” he said. “I’m going to kick into those memories and I’ll handle it fine.
“With fighting I’m so lucky that I get to go and see another part of the world, see somebody else’s culture and do that with the job I love. What more can I ask for?”
— Martin Murray (@MartinMurrayBox) October 20, 2023
Switching his focus to Saturday’s fight McGann, who trains under former world title challenger Martin Murray in Liverpool, revealed his unique process of preparation and vowed to produce a memorable performance against Duran.
He said: “Personally, I don’t watch opponents to pick out tactics, I let my coach do that.
“I believe it’s important to watch people just to get a feel of them so I can close my eyes and when I visualise the fight I can see him.
“I do it for that reason, to get me mentally ready for the night. It’s the fight game – if there’s one word that sums up where your path goes it’s performance.
“If I go out there and scrape a win it’s a lot different to if I go out there and flatten him. It’s definitely important to win, but I’m going for a performance.”
In terms of the specific challenges posed by Duran Jr, McGann paid respect to his opponent’s skillset but vowed to be too much for him in the ring.
He said: “He’s a real slick boxer, he’s experienced. It’s the same for all of us on the card, there’s pressure because it’s so big and when there’s pressure on a fight that’s when you get the best performances out of everyone.
“You put that on top of the fact his dad is a true legend in the sport and that adds a bit more pressure to him. I think I’m going to get a man in front of me who’s going to fight for his life.”
“I’ve put in so much work this camp. I’ve sacrificed so much, and with the help of people round me, my family, the people in the gym, my sponsor Samantha Hutchinson and Power of One, the animal welfare charity I represent, the support I’ve got is going to make me a monster on the night and my performance will show that.”
Featured image: Credit Jim Diamond