Tuesday 20 February 2018

Conor McGregor brings in Commonwealth Youth medalist and Paulie Malignaggi to spar ahead of Mayweather fight

Jack O'Toole

Conor McGregor has brought in Commonwealth Youth silver medalist Tiernan Bradley to spar with him ahead of his highly anticipated professional boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August.

The UFC Lightweight champion brought in Manny Pacquiao's sparring partner Dashon Johnson late last week, and he's now started to spar with 20-year-old Tyrone welterweight Tiernan Bradley, a six-time Irish champion.

The Omagh native was suggested to McGregor by Conor Wallace, who was McGregor’s primary sparring partner for the Nate Diaz rematch at UFC 202, a fight which McGregor won by majority decision.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s ‘Good Morning Ulster’ on Thursday morning, Bradley confirmed that he made contact with McGregor through Wallace.

 “I got contacted through Conor McGregor’s last sparring partner, for the Nate Diaz rematch, Conor Wallace from Newry.”

“Conor McGregor just rang him and said ‘is there anyone out there, in Ireland, that is able to come down to Dublin and sort of has the same style as Mayweather?’ Conor had no hesitation to say my name, and his [McGregor’s] manager got in contact with me and I couldn’t turn it down.”

Meanwhile former WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi is also set to spar with the Dubliner when he relocates to the United States over the next few weeks.

Malignaggi was an outspoken critic of McGregor's when he was first heard that the 28-year-old intended to apply for a professional boxing license.

The two-division champion said in December of last year: "If you are really going to disrespect the sport of boxing like that, then I would like to be the one to teach you that lesson."

However, the 36-year-old then confirmed on Wednesday that McGregor and his camp had reached out to him to inquire about bringing in the former WBA welterweight champion to spar.

"I did get called to go to camp with Conor McGregor," Malignaggi told MMA Micks on Wednesday.

"I was surprised because I haven't really been training or I haven't really been in the gym. I  started working out a little bit and I'm working out details to spar with McGregor.

"If it's something that's going to be feasible, it will be cool, because I think I will have some inside stuff to talk about on fight night."

Malignaggi, who retired from boxing two days after he was knocked out by British fighter Sam Eggington in March, has made a successful transition into broadcasting and provides ringside commentary for a host of networks including Showtime, Fox Sports 1 and Sky Sports.

The New Yorker said that it would not be right of him to divulge anything he's seen from McGregor in camp until fight night on August 26, but he did say that it was a testament to McGregor's character for the UFc star to reach out to him given the comments that he made about the Crumlin native receiving his boxing license.

"I did call him out but I think that shows the character of the man," added Malignaggi.

"He could have said 'screw that kid, he called me out, I'm not going to put him in my training camp', but I think it shows the competitive spirit and the willingness to want to learn on the part of McGregor.

"It shows you how hungry he is because he put that pride aside. It's not easy to put that pride aside when you're a fighter. It made me respect him a little more."

Earlier this month McGregor's striking coach Owen Roddy said that McGregor and his camp will head to the United States sometime over the next few weeks to continue their training camp and that Las Vegas has been touted as a possible location for the camp.

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