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Conor McGregor returns to Crumlin BC – Spars with Irish boxing wonderkid

Conor McGregor was back where his fight career all started last night.

The mixed martial arts superstar was down at Wednesday night training in the famous Crumlin Boxing Club where he first laced up a pair of gloves.

Between the ages of 12 and 16, McGregor boxed out of the Phil Sutcliffe Sr and won the Dublin Novice Championships as a 16 year old. He continued at the club after this but his commitment would dwindle as MMA took hold.

The club has always held a special place in McGregor’s heart as rose through the MMA ranks, picking up four world titles across Cage Warriors and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Back in 2015 he told Irish boxing writer Kevin Byrne that “Phil Sutcliffe is a phenomenal boxing coach and my time under Phil in Crumlin Boxing Club, I learned so many fundamentals that I still carry with me today.”

“I learned so many shots off Phil and the coaching staff down there and the sparring with Phil Sutcliffe Jnr in my early days was phenomenal, it got me to that next level I feel.”

The charismatic and controversial Crumlin fighter would foray into the world of boxing in 2017 for a money-spinning bout with five-weight champion Floyd Mayweather and the build-up to this Las Vegas clash saw his old club spring to prominence, with numerous U.S. media outfits visiting.

McGregor himself was back at the club last night and it wasn’t a PR move.

The 30-year-old was put through his paces on the pads by veteran coach Bra Brady and then would go on to do some sparring.

This included a few rounds with 17-year-old Willo Hayden, a 2016 European Schoolboys (U14) gold medallist.

Hayden, who also gets rounds in with pros at the Celtic Warriors Gym, another haunt of McGregor, is seen as one of the top prospects in Irish amateur boxing. The nine-time national champion is targeting the European Youth (U18) Championships in Sofia this September.

Gym boss Sutcliffe said that “Conor [was] still throwing the Crumlin shots while giving the lads a move around in sparring. Nice to have him home in the School of Excellence.”

It’s a busy time in Crumlin BC at the minute as they gear up for their famous Good Friday show – which McGregor and a who’s who of Irish boxing have appeared on over the years.

The all-day fight card, now in its 27th year, is followed by music and entertainment until (very) late and refreshments are available.

Tickets (€10) available from Crumlin BC.


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email:

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