Conlon targets amateur world title

After deciding to remain as an amateur following his medal success at last summer’s Olympic Games, Belfast boxer Michael Conlon is in the midst of preparing for May’s European Championships in Belarus.

Conlon claimed a bronze medal at London 2012 and credits the unprecedented success Irish boxing is enjoying to two factors; the increased amount of financial backing from the Irish Sports Council, and each fighter’s dedication to their training.

“We can now practise full-time thanks to the boost in the levels of funding we receive. Ireland’s good results in the boxing ring also stem from the amount of hard work we all put into our preparation.”

The establishment of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) has allowed amateur fighters to compete regularly around the world. Despite various improvements on the amateur scene, Conlon still sees his long-term future in the paid ranks, and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Bernard Dunne, Wayne McCullough and Barry McGuigan in becoming a world champion.

“I definitely still plan to go professional in the future because it’s something I have always dreamed of. My aim is to be a world champion, but first I want to win the World Amateur Championships.”

Those championships take place in Kazakhstan in October and should Conlon achieve his aim and win gold, he may discard his vest and head guard earlier than he had previously expected.

“I want to win gold at Rio and at the moment, the plan is to stay amateur until after the Olympics in Brazil. However, anything can happen between now and then.”

If Conlon and some of the other London medallists turn professional, he is still convinced that a new generation of Irish athletes will compete for boxing medals in the 2016 Olympics.

“There is real talent coming through the ranks in Ireland and this country will always contend for medals.”

Photo by Michael Hade [photographer for AIBA]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *