Meet Conor Wallace: Six time All-Ireland Champion with his sights on Tokyo Gold
‘No point aiming just to get there, if you’re going you want to lift the gold medal and that’s what I plan on doing’
A young Irish boxer is planning to follow in the footsteps of Olympic Gold medal winner Katie Taylor with an aim to bring home a similar accolade from the Tokyo Olympics.
Conor Wallace is no stranger to succeeding in his field, having claimed the title of All-Ireland Champion no less than six times, since he made his first foray into the sport at just nine years of age.
The now 20 year old from Newry has recently made the "massive step up" from intermediate to senior level in the last year, and he knows it's time to up his ring game in order to bring home the coveted gold in 2020.
"I’ve been down here in Dublin to train with the best in the world and to better myself to get to the next level," Conor told independent.ie.
Conor has been training with the likes of Olympic Gold medal winner Katie Taylor and Bronze medallist Paddy Barnes and believes training with the best will help him become an Olympic winner as well.
"I train with then and aspire to be like them, and seeing what they have achieved, it just shows you it can be done – they are just ordinary people and with hard work you reap the rewards," he said.
Conor's boxing coach Owen Murphy - from St Monica’s Boxing Club, Newry - said his charge has come a long way from the "wee chubby boy" that came through his door 11 years ago.
"[He] won a title early on in Dublin and ever since then he has pushed further each time. He is an example to young lads to get into the sport of boxing," Murphy said.
"We always knew Conor could make it, so that’s why me and Conor sat down and had a chat at the end of last season. We decided that we weren’t going to stay intermediate to long, the goal was to win the gold and move up – and he won the Irish intermediate and earned his spot at senior level, in the space of a year."
April 23rd sees Conor at a bout America with a select group from Ulster to fight in the 2016 Belfast-Beltway Boxing Classic, and is currently gathering up sponsorship funds in order to take part. And support in the 'Conor hype' is not something he's short of, he says.
"A lot of people would know me from where I live because of my boxing and I’ve had a lot of reaction for sponsorship online since I posted my message on Facebook," said the ambitious sportsman who "packed in his job at Christmas".
Murphy maintains that Conor is already "and knocking at the door" in terms of fighting success.
"The next goal is to win the senior title and then step on up to the Commonwealth Games. That’s the plan, like it has been in the past – taking it one step at a time. Then we can start thinking about Tokyo 2020."