Conlan promises to improve after one of his “worst performances”

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Mick Conlan was a happy man to get his Olympic campaign started today with a win.

Conlan comprehensively defeated Armenia’s Aram Avagyan in the bantamweight Last 16 to put himself one win from a medal but, as is often the case, the Belfast perfectionist was not delighted with his performance.

Speaking to RTÉ immediately after the fight, Conlan described the victory as “probably one of the worst performances I’ve had in recent times, but y’know it’s the Olympic Games and there’s a lot of pressure here, everyone at home saying it was left to me and Katie.”

“We do see it and it’s a bit of added pressure.”

The 24 year old World champion admitted that “today I think there were a bit of nerves after seeing all the lads losing, I didn’t want to lose.”

“My legs I think had all the energy sucked away from them with the nerves and I think it kind of took away from the performance.”

“I got dragged into a war when I could have easily outboxed that kid.”

“But y’know what? It’s the Olympic Games, people are here to win, and will do anything they can to win, so I’m delighted with the victory.”

“I felt like I had to step up today – which I did”

Conlan may have been slightly unhappy with his showing, but the Clonard man is in no way worried, and reasoned that while the win was “not one of my best performances, but as always, every first performance from me is a slow starter.”

“As the tournament goes on I progress and I get better and better.”

“It’s good to get that one out of the way and a wee war out of the way.”

Conlan will fight Russian Vladimir Nikitin in the quarter finals on Tuesday at 15:30 (Irish Time).

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie