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‘Am I as good as I think I am?’ – Michael Conlan admits questioning himself ahead of comeback

Forget the doubters, Michael Conlan says he has some self-doubt to address when he returns to the boxing ring later this year.

Conlan’s future was put for debate after he suffered a surprise stoppage defeat to Jordan Gill in Belfast last December. Despite the fact he had just turned 32 the month previous, a third pro defeat led to calls for him to call time on his career.

However, Belfast fighter ended all debate about retirement last month when he told Irish-boxing.com ‘it’s not done’.

It was defiant from the Irish fight legend, although it appears he won’t be as bullish about his latest attempted world title assault.

The fighter, who along with Paddy Barnes helped change the mentality of the Irish amateur set up with his self-belief and gold-or-nothing approach, admits his confidence has been affected by his third stoppage defeat and notes he will need a mini rebuild.

In typically honest fashion, Ireland’s only ever male World amateur champion, says he has questioned himself since getting through the dark times that followed the pre-Christmas reverse.

“After two defeats your confidence is a bit knocked, there’s no point denying that,” Conlan said in a very interesting interview with Boxing News.

“I can sit here and go, ‘My confidence is just fine. I know the reasons for the defeats and I am going to put things right.’ But I’m not saying that. There are reasons for the defeats, yes, but when you lose, no matter the circumstances, you do look at yourself and go, ‘Fuck me, am I as good as I think I am?’”

Conlan, who will set about restoring his confidence when he returns at super bantamweight with a new coaching team in America later this year, also takes some solace in the fact he knows why he underperformed against the former European Champion.

“I don’t believe that was the true Michael Conlan and I know he is still there. As a boxer, you know in sparring when you’re getting manhandled by guys you should be controlling, but I was handling guys who were 135 and 140 pounds. That wasn’t the problem. It was life. My head wasn’t in it.”

While he may have some understandable self-doubt issues to address, the Conlan Boxing promoter still has no time for the doubters.

One of the more talked about fighters, particularly in Irish and British boxing circles, can ignore the critics simply because he doesn’t value what they have to say.

“People don’t see what’s going on in your life, yet they can have an opinion on what you should do with your life – in terms of giving up your profession or not – because we do this thing in a public forum,” he said. “It’s madness. All these people get to comment on your career, but it’s only the minority who know what they are talking about. The majority talk shit and just want attention.“


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years