Kieran Molloy [1(1)-0] goes into his Irish pro debut inspired by the former heavyweight champion of the world and one of the biggest names in boxing.
The Galway fighter fights for just the second time as a pro on the undercard of the eagerly anticipated Return of the Mick card at the SSE Arena this Saturday after a long camp alongside Anthony Joshua.
The 23-year-old has trained beside the former unified heavyweight world champ in the lead-up to his Belfast clash and claims he has really benefited from having his Angel Fernandez stablemate around of late.
The Top Rank promoted, Conlan boxing managed light middle says watching the Brit prepare for a monster rematch with unified world champ Oleksandr Usyk has been a massive learning experience, as has watching how the likes of Richard Riakporhe and Frazer Clarke go about their daily business.
“It’s massive. That’s every boxer’s dream is to be in a great gym,” he said when asked about training in Loughborough University under Angel Fernandez and alongside Joshua and co.
“These lads are fighting at the top of their game, Richard Riakporhe will hopefully be fighting for a world title next, Anthony Joshua has the biggest fight of his life ahead of him. It’s great to see how they prepare for these elite fights. I’m at a different stage of my journey but I can learn from them all including Frazer. I’m just so happy to be where I am.”
Speaking previously, Molloy who fights Russian Evgenii Vazem [9(4)-34(7)] on a stacked Belfast card said: “There is a great atmosphere and to be training alongside the heavyweight champion of the world there is not much better than that.
“It motivates me a lot because I know how hard he works to win his belts back. He sees us on the way up and he can give us bits of advice. Just training alongside him is a great experience.”
With Joshua and the likes in the gym, there is a danger a young novice pro like Molloy may get overlooked and not get the attention of Fernandez – but he assures that is far from the case.
“We all don’t train at the same time so we get specific work with him. I’ve had great learning sessions with him and I think he is one of the best coaches in the world.
“He has an aggressive style of boxing which suits me with sitting down on punches and setting up power punches. I’m getting great one-on-one coaching with him.”
Molloy would have liked to be further along in his pro career going into this weekend’s clash on the undercard of his boss, Michael Conlan’s first fight since defeat to Leigh Wood.
However, he has seen a number of fights fall through, including an American debut set for the massive WBC, WBA, WBO three-belt unification showdown between Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith at the Hulu Theater of Madison Square Garden.
He admits it’s not ideal but he has taken the setbacks in his stride.
“Even before I went pro Jamie and Michael were telling me this stuff is going to happen, obviously we didn’t know it would happen in the first few months. Opponents pull out, people miss weight, anything can happen in professional boxing. I’ve dealt with that well and I’ve learnt from it. There is not much you can do put your head down and keep going.”