Gary Cornish

Gary Cornish

When Gary Cornish stopped Hungarian heavyweight Zoltan Csala in the 4th round in May of 2015, he achieved a new first.  He is the only Scottish boxer to have picked up a significant title in the heavyweight division.  It may not be the full version of a title that he dreams of, but the IBO International heavyweight title signifies the first of many achievements that the 6 foot 7 Inverness heavyweight looks to accomplish.
 
Scotland may have been a hotbed of fighters over the years, producing world title holders in multiple divisions such as Ken Buchanan, Jime Watt and Ricky Burns, but it has never had a fighter win gold in the highest profile division of the sport.  So has being a Scottish heavyweight hindered Gary's progression?
 
"Not at all" he tells me.  "Scotland isn't known for having heavyweights - that's probably why we don't get recognised as much up here.  But if I keep winning I can't go away."
 
And winning he is.  Since his professional debut in 2011 Cornish has amassed 21 wins with no draws or losses - 12 of the wins coming via knockout.  The fact that 7 of the knockouts have come in his last 8 fights shows that Cornish is finding his 'man strength' and adapting to the pro game.  At 28 he is now a fully fledged member of the British heavyweight scene.  He remains humble about his place in the elite of British boxers though - "I wouldn't like to rate myself in the heavyweights - it's just exciting now and being part of it is brilliant".
 
There are plenty of options out there for Cornish.  A fight with English champion John Mcdermott has been mooted for the Commonwealth title, but at the moment there are no firm plans (although on the day of writing, Gary was awaiting a call to find out who a potential opponent could be).  Another potential foe is Dillian Whyte - the two fighters have exchanged barbs on Twitter in the past, with Whyte accusing Cornish of not wanting the fight.  Not so says the Scot.  "Nothing has been made yet, but that would be a good one if it was made".
 
One new development for Cornish has been his promotional link up with Kellie Maloney.  Having undergone a highly covered gender change, the promoter has come back to boxing and taken Cornish on as one of her first charges.  How did the link up come about?
 
"I used to box on a few of the Maloney shows and her and my manager (Tommy Gilmour) worked together then.  Now she is back in boxing and she wants to work with us again."
 
The last heavyweight to work under Maloney was the Liverpudlian David Price.  After two consecutive losses to American Tony Thompson the relationship between Price and Maloney disbanded, with the Scouse boxer heading to work with the Sauerland brothers.  Prior to her involvement with Price, Maloney famously promoted British world title winner Lennox Lewis.  So does Gary feel any extra pressure to live up to Lewis's achievements and avoid the pitfalls of David Price?
"No, not at all.  In fact with what's been going on Kellie is the one getting a lot of the press.  That's perfect for me - it takes the limelight off of me and I can just fight, which I'm happy with."
 
He's clearly a man who is looking to progress through the division and has aspirations of his own - when pressed on the title ambitions he is happy to let his management team take on the strategising; "How long until I become the first Scottish heavyweight champion?  That's really up to my manager - I've told him to keep me busy so if he does that and I keep winning, the titles will come."  A very grounded view from the Scotsman. 
 
To get to the pinnacle of the heavyweight division he will likely at some point have to face fellow Brit Tyson Fury.  How does Gary see his challenge to Wladimir Klitschko going?  "It should be a cracking fight.  I've sparred Fury and he's very good.  Fury should be able to keep him at range, he has a better chance than most."
 
With his feet firmly grounded and a wise head in Tommy Gilmour to steer his path to titles, alongside the promotional capability of Kelly Maloney, Cornish will find himself in the mix for titles domestically and internationally in the near future.  His dream of being the first heavyweight to bring a title back to the Highlands could be around the corner.