NEVER before has a Scotsman been Britain’s heavyweight champion, but Gary Cornish is planning to change that when he takes on Sam Sexton for the vacant title on October 6th. “All that’s on my mind is to become British champion,” he says, and given his towering frame he’s going to take some stopping.
Cornish is sadly best known for his first round loss to Anthony Joshua, but in the short time he shared a ring with AJ he showed himself to be much more game than any of the Englishman’s early opponents. He describes the bout now as a “good learning fight” and concedes it will take the sting out of being in the spotlight against Sam Sexton.
Now, with that experience behind him and a record of 24-1-0, Cornish is looking to take his career to the next level and claim the British title. The last three holders of the British heavyweight championship belt are big names, Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte and AJ have all been proud owners of the prestigious Lonsdale belt.
As Cornish’s first chance at a major championship this represents a massive step for the Scotsman and, if he can overcome Sam Sexton, it will be a massive step for Scottish boxing too.
When it comes to the tape Cornish towers above Sexton 6’7” to the Englishman’s 6’2”, he’s three years younger and he’s also got a higher knockout percentage.
‘The Highlander’ will likely enter the bout as favourite though neither fighter has any particularly high profile victories to boast. Sexton can at least call on his victory over Martin Rogan, but elsewhere the two records are similarly littered with defeated journeymen. Sexton’s three losses came at the hands of Dereck Chisora (twice) and David Price.
Somewhat of an acid test for both fighters then, and a very interesting one, Cornish admits a familiarity with Sexton too. “I’ve seen Sam live a few times and seen him in sparring sessions… but what’s he working on?” he asks, “He could be working on anything.” Cornish is preparing for the best Sam Sexton can throw at him and sounds like a man taking nothing for granted.
As familiar as he is though Cornish is still confident he can beat the Norwich man and hopes to have a Scottish crowd in fine voice behind him. As far as a prediction goes, Cornish adds, “Honestly I think the later it goes the better. I’ll probably stop him in the later rounds”.
The pair both have high profile losses and records that are more impressive numerically than they are in terms of achievement. As a result this fight represents a chance for one of the two to add some real substance to their professional record, as well as a valuable belt that could pave the way to bigger things.
Cornish seems the more likely victor of the two and a win for him would make Scottish boxing history. Cornish notes too that in Scottish boxing terms MTK Scotland are “taking over,” so could a Scots win also add some momentum to Sam Kynoch’s MTK revival of Scottish boxing? We’ll find out on October 6.