The Everton Red Triangle gym in Liverpool has spent years churning out some of the most business-like fighters on the British circuit.

Paul Stevenson’s fighters are rarely involved in pre-fight shenanigans and – publicly at least – they never appear too excited by their success or too down about the disappointments. 

It is a trait which will have served Peter McGrail well over the past few months. 

McGrail, 8-1 (5 KOs), will have been privately devastated by the shock fifth-round knockout defeat he suffered at the hands of Ja’Rico O’Quinn last December but the years he has spent training with Stevenson will have taught him not to over react.

McGrail didn’t try to absolve himself of blame by ditching his longtime training team. Neither did the super bantamweight try to put the loss down to weight making and rashly jump up to 126lbs. The 27-year-old simply accepted that he had made a mistake and got straight back to work. 

O’Quinn was due to be the man in the opposite corner when McGrail makes his return to the ring on Saturday night but the American’s late withdrawal due to ‘personal family matters’ means that McGrail will have to wait a little longer for a chance to set the record straight. Instead, McGrail will face former British super bantamweight champion, Marc Leach, at Liverpool’s Exhibition Centre.

Four months on from that night in Arizona, McGrail can look back at what happened calmly. 

“It was just a learning curve for me. It was a hard one to take. I was obviously in control of the fight. I had O’Quinn down twice. The fight was going to plan and I got caught with a good shot and – obviously – he took my belt didn’t he? A little switch off for a second, a split second, that’s all a punch is,” McGrail told Matchroom. “Straight away we said we wanted the rematch and that I’m going to get my belt back and smash his head in properly this time but – one way or the other – he’s pulled out of the fight and we’ve got a new opponent. It’s a different opponent but obviously I’ve got the same job to do. I’m coming to put a good performance in.”

Leach, 18-3-1 (4 KOs), will pose a totally different set of problems to the confident American. He may not carry the same one-punch threat of O’Quinn but the 30-year-old Salford southpaw is a box of tricks and can be an elusive, clever fighter if he is allowed to find his rhythm. 

Having faced plenty of similar fighters during his long, successful amateur career, McGrail will be fully confident of figuring Leach out technically but knockout defeats can be hard to rebound from and the night will provide him with an earlier than expected test of his mental strength. 

“I’m expecting a good, tough fight. I’m more than ready for the likes of Marc Leach so we’ll see on April 27th,” he said. “Every fight is a must win but coming off the back of a loss, it’s probably even more of a must win. You’re going to see a spiteful, explosive Peter McGrail coming back to winning ways.”

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