Tuesday 23 January 2018

'The Olympics was nothing like the rowdy crowd drinking all day on Paddy's Day - Michael Conlan

Michael Conlan celebrates after a super bantamweight win over Tim Ibarra
Michael Conlan celebrates after a super bantamweight win over Tim Ibarra

Conor Neville

A jubilant and relieved Michael Conlan said that the atmosphere in Madison Square Garden last night topped the atmosphere at the London Olympics in 2012.

"I've been at the Olympics Games at a home Olympics in London with 9,000 people cheering me on, but it was nothing like tonight. It was nothing like a rowdy crowd that was out drinking all day on St Patrick's Day and ready to cheer on their fellow Irishman. I'm just thankful for the crowd."

As for his performance, Conlan admitted that he was sometimes too eager to impress. Conlan said his Colorado opponent Tim Ibarra presented no fears for him. Rather his biggest enemy on the night was complacency.

"After the first ten seconds, I was like, 'this guy has got nothing to hurt me and can't do anything'. So I didn't care. I got reckless and I was throwing stupid punches at times."

His promoter Matthew Macklin interjected and said that "he tried a little too hard at times. But who wouldn't?"

Over the din of the Irish crowd hollering "Olé, Olé, Olé!!", Conlan said the reception he received was beyond his wildest expectations. 

"I think it was a debut that you could never have dreamed of. Who has a ring walk like that? Who has a crowd going like that for the ring walk? I've been dreaming about this stuff since I was a kid. The ring walk has been in motion since I was 12 years of age."

He did, however, admit that he misses the camaraderie of amateur boxing. The professional game is more of a solitary pursuit and he acknowledged that he was sometimes guilty of over-thinking the fight as a result.

"Pro boxing is lot more lonelier that amateur boxing. I was in the room by myself and I was like 'I would love someone to be sitting with me and just chatting away.' Because my partner wasn't in the same room. she was in a different room. At times, you like that team spirit. Sometimes you were sitting there, you over-thought the fight at times."

Conlan grew properly animated when discussing his plans for later in the evening. He confirmed he had an after-party lined up for everyone. But he was mainly focused on food.

"All I want to have now is some pizza, some doughnuts and some hot wings. It's simple as that."

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