“They probably wont like me” – Mick Conlan expecting hostile reception at new gym

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Mick Conlan is looking forward to testing himself when he steps into a professional gym later this month, but he is anticipating a somewhat frosty reception from his new gym-mates.

A decorated amateur, now described as the saviour of American boxing, the Belfast man will carry a hefty reputation, and a hefty signing-on bonus, into the pro game.

Conlan, who turns 25 this month, will fly out to Los Angeles and Manny Robles’s ‘The Rock Gym’ on November 10th. Here he will test the water with Robles, who trains Conlan’s old amateur team-mate Jason Quigley.

Outlining the move, the West Belfast man described how “we’ll do some training with Manny Robles to see if I gel with him, and if I gel with him, that’s who I’ll be with.”

“I’ve spoke to Manny, he’s very very excited. He’s been talking to me the last few years since he was running the WSB team [LA Matadors, for whom Jason Quigley had two fights], just being very nice. I’ve been watching his videos, just of him doing pads with [WBO featherweight champ Oscar] Valdez, and Jason, and I like his work I like his pad-work.”

“As a coach, I asked Jason how he was. Jason’s a fighter like me, he’s a box-fighter, he’s not just a brawler. And he said ‘he’s perfect for us because he’s all about defence, even though it looks like he’s all about attacking, he’s all about defence.'”

“I’m a mixture of both, so to have someone like him who’s useful for attack and useful for defence is what I need.”

Conlan is under no illusions, and knows he will probably be a marked man when he enters the gym initially. The London 2012 bronze medalist explained how “Jason was saying that, with a big name like me coming into the gym, people might want to take my head off [in sparring].”

“Either way, I’ll make sure they respect me and I’ll put a bit of manners on anyone who steps in the ring and tries to take my head off.”

“Fighters are going to try take my head off until they get to know me, because I’m going in there and I’m probably going to be jumping their level already and they have ten or eleven fights.”

“They probably wont like me, but they’ll probably grow to like me – hopefully they’ll grow to like me!”

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