Wednesday 19 June 2019

'I held him down and beat the shit out of him' - John Kavanagh tells Paul Kimmage how he once dealt with Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor with coach John Kavanagh
Conor McGregor with coach John Kavanagh newsdesk

John Kavanagh has revealed how he once held Conor McGregor down and "beat the shit out of him".

In a wide-ranging interview with Paul Kimmage in the Sunday Independent, Kavanagh talks about his relationship with McGregor, saying the pair are actually not that close, his own road to become one of biggest names in Irish sport, the Hollywood lifestyle of McGregor and there is also a brilliant story about the first time he met GAA legend Kieran McGeeney.

You can read the full interview in tomorrow's Sunday Independent but, for now, here is a sneak preview of one extract where Kavanagh explains how he had to deal with McGregor in his Crumlin gym.


PK: Tell me about the first day (in 2007) he walks into your gym. He had been boxing in Crumlin with Phil Sutcliffe.

JK: Correct.

PK: And he picks a fight with Owen Roddy.

JK: Well, it was supposed to be a spar, but it was a fight. Owen was the top dog back then and the new guy wanted to test himself.

PK: And you’re watching this with an inquisitive eye?

JK: Of course. Owen had been with me a long time — he was my boy — but this new kid moved in a certain way. He was a southpaw, a good boxer and he just had a way about him that made you go: ‘What’s going to happen here?’ And he caught Owen with a good shot and put him down. 

PK: And then he floored Aisling Daly, which was incredible really.

JK: It sounds worse than it was. He wasn’t hitting her in the head or anything, but just happened to throw a body shot that hit her in the sweet spot, the solar plexus, and put her down.

PK: And now the coach is not happy.

JK: I got a little emotional because Ash had been with me a long time and the other guys would look after her. But this new guy had come in and put her down, and my protective nature kicked in. I was still fighting at that stage, or hadn’t stopped that long, so I put the gloves on… actually, he has corrected me on that and says it was bare knuckles. But I held him down and beat the shit out of him, without putting too fine a point on it.

PK: (Laughs.)

JK: I kept hitting him in the body until he couldn’t breathe and then I looked at him: ‘What’s it going to be? We can train or we can fight?’ And he was OK from the next day.

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