Ed Harrison vs Peter McGrail DAZN
One of Merseyside’s most decorated amateur boxers, McGrail first broke through with bronze medals at the Youth Olympics and World Youth Championships back in 2014. The gifted southpaw then won gold at the European Championships in Kharkiv in 2017 before winning Commonwealth gold a year later in Australia.
The 25-year-old Liverpudlian, who trains out of the renowned Everton Red Triangle Gym on Albion Street under Paul Stevenson, was hotly-tipped for a Featherweight medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games but succumbed to a premature defeat against Thai fighter Chatchai-decha Butdee in the opening round.
“I won seven National Titles growing up,” said McGrail. “I went to the Youth Worlds and got a bronze. Then I qualified for the Youth Olympics and got a bronze. It was after that I joined Team GB. My best achievement was when I won the Europeans fighting a Ukrainian in Ukraine in the final. I knew if I won that I was the first ever Scouser.
“You’ve seen the Scousers that have come out of this city. For me to win that and be the first ever Scouser was boss for my family. It was boss for me and boss for the gym. I needed the Olympic medal, but it wasn’t to be. I’m still proud of my career. It was sad but it was exciting at the same time because I knew it was time for the new chapter to begin which I’ve been waiting for for years.
“I’m a proud Scouser, whenever there’s a Scouser fighting I’m always rooting for them. The likes of Tony Bellew and Callum Smith – former World Champions. Everyone in our gym, we’re all looking to follow in their footsteps. I love Liverpool. I trained down in Sheffield for years but I always used to miss home. When I’d come home I was always a bit happier.
Peter McGrail (1-0) secured a punch-perfect, shutout six-rounds points win against the tough Ed Harrison (2-9) from Blackpool, who is a bit of a banana skin for young prospects, having beaten two undefeated opponents already from the away corner.
On the Matchroom Sports show, which featured a local derby in the main event between Liam Smith and Anthony Fowler, 2020 Tokyo Olympian McGrail didn’t let the occasion or opponent faze him in any way as he set about attacking to the body and the head of the tall Thai-born fighter from Lancashire.
The 25-year-old, who won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, showed off his sublime skills, fancy footwork, aggressive attacks, then almost stopped his opponent in the sixth and final round with his persistent pressure.
Ed Harrison after the fight said "I would like to thank Kieran Farrell for getting me these opportunities and Walkston Candy and all my other sponsors. I cut a lot of weight for this fight. Usually we would have just stayed in the Hotel but Callum Fahy fought last night in St Helens. So yesterday, I picked Kieran up form his gym then we went to the weigh in at the Hilton in Liverpool. The fight was made at 126lbs. I come in 128lbs and Peter come in 127.5lbs. After getting some Italian food I dropped Kieran back off at his gym then went home.
We then took Callum to St Helens where he lost a close decision to Cole Roughly and got home late about 0030. Then I drove to the Echo arena for the fight tonight.
Peter's just come back from the Olympics and fighting in his home town, Eddie Hearn wanted to put him on near the top of the bill. We fought 3rd from the top of the bill just before Cheeseman vs Williamson and Smith vs Fowler so the stadium was packed with over 9000 people in their seats.
Peter is an extremely good boxer. I watched all his fights and knew he was going to start fast. I came out fast because he starts every fight fast and I've head butted him by accident. He then landed a few clean shots that hit me on my eyes and my vision wasn't the best for a few rounds. Peter is very sharp and was making me think very hard for every second of the fight. I had to stay so switched on every second.
I knew he was going to be going up and down with the backhand and I didn't want to be reacting to it to much. I took his jab away just by staying long and feinting but couldn't get the timing on his backhand for a few rounds.
In the 2nd round I was still struggling to time his speed and see properly so I thought I'd sit on the ropes and try to punch with him. He was still being very tricky and had good speed but I managed to catch him at the end of one of his attacks just by exploding off the ropes with a combination. I just used the 2nd round to try get my timing, so was staying near the ropes trying to get Peter to open up so I could adjust to his punches quicker.
In the 3rd round my vision started to come back and I had a better read on Peter's timing so I decided to take the middle and try to counter as Peter came in. Last 30 seconds I started to move and tried to get peter to walk onto a punch. Once I heard the 10 second clacker I circled to my corner and let a combo go catching McGrail because I knew he couldn't come back at me and I'd get a rest.
In the 4th round I thought Peter may fade mentally or physically because he's so used to doing the 3 rounds. I took the middle again but Peter was still very sharp. He was still out thinking me and aware of my counters so I decided to change it up the second half of the round and get him on the move which is where I had more success but Peter was still too sharp for me.
In the 5th round I just wanted to conserve my energy and tried to limit Peter's punch output so I was fresh for the last round where I could have a go of landing a big shot. I just stepped round the outside controlling the air and tried to limit Peter to 1 or 2 punches by countering him straight away then tying him up but Peter was still very sharp and I couldn't tie him up. The best I could do was smother him and reset. I tried to control this gloves as much as possible and not give him any punching opportunities.
At the start of the 6th round I was quite fresh because of the easier 5th round. I knew Peter had only ever done 5 rounds in the World Series Boxing so I thought he might have a few doubts about his fitness going into the 6th. He did 5 rounds with Shakur Stevenson in the WSB so I was also hoping the crowd and occasion might get to him. I tried not to take a backward step and stay very small and tight and punch with him. My punch technique is usually very good and I leave very few openings when I concentrate on staying small.
About 30 seconds into the last round, Peter stepped in with his jab. I countered with a very good short right hand but Peter moved his head off line while throwing his backhand to the body which hit me clean on the liver as I was punching. I then had to go into survival mode as I was winded. I tucked up on the ropes and knew he was going to be punching so countered with some hard body shots of my own off the ropes.
This made Peter pause before unleashing another combination. He knew I was still punching back so he took his time. He then hit me with another good body shot which Paul Stevenson saw but Peter didn't realise he hurt me again. I then just moved before having a last little go at the end of the round but Peter was still way to switched on for me to have any success.
I've now retired unless Kieran gets me something I can't turn down but I don't think anything can beat fighting in front of a sold out Echo arena Live on DAZN on pretty much the top of the bill against a future world champion. I'd like to thank Nelson Birchall from Sharpestyle who gave me a very good 6 rounds on Tuesday in preparation for this late notice fight".