‘I thought I’d never fight again’ – Doherty’s debut made extra special by injury return

Celtic Clash 8 plays host to four debuts this weekend, but of the four fighters punching for pay for the first time the pro bow experience will be most special for Conor Doherty.

The Belfast fighter thought his chances of ever fighting again had gone as recent as last year.

Doherty suffered a knee injury that required surgery and was so severe that he feared for his future as a boxer.

The 24 year old admits he had a strong mental and physical battle to overcome to before he could consider fighting for pay- so when he finally does debut the Boxing Ireland fighter will be brimming with excitement and rejoicing in a sense of achievement.

“I  was meant to debut nearly a year ago now. I had a knee injury and it set me back big time. I had to get an operation on it and then there was a lot of rehab to build the leg back up again,” he told Irish-boxing.com.

“At the start I thought I wasn’t going to be able to fight again. An injury like that does play with your head too. You have to keep training and trying to keep yourself right. If you keep at it you’ll get there in the end.

“It makes (my debut) extra special because I have been out of the ring two years now. The last time I fought was in the Ulster Seniors two years ago. I just can’t wait to get in and hit someone basically, but it’s that bit extra special because of the injury, the worry I had and the wait.”

Doherty was meant to debut on the cancelled The Beginning card last year – and before his proposed but untimely cancelled  pro bow he informed Irish-boxing.com that he was a hurt game enthusiast who had been knocking people out since he was 12.

That desire to inflict pain is possibly greater now considering the year of frustration and he is hoping to deliver a knockout for the fans at the Devinish this Saturday night.

“Agression, that’s what I’ll bring to the ring,” he adds with a smile.

“I can do everything and I can go back if some guy is coming at me like a raging bull, but I like to go forward. I always look for the knockout and hopefully I can give the fans that. I am looking to forward everything about it the debut It’s going to be so different from the amateurs, but I am looking forward most to throwing big shots.”

After the prolonged lay off the Paul Hyland Snr trained fighter is eager to get moving. He is hoping to impress during regular fights over 2019.

“I just want to get a few fights under my belt. I want to show people what I can do. I want people to see I have power and skill and if I am busy I can make my way up the rankings,” he adds before revealing he will start life as a super middleweight.

“I will start at super middle and try and move down to middle maybe. I was super heavy after the operation I had and I worked hard to get down. I had to go the gym because my head was melted. I went down with my crutches and did upper body stuff and I turned into a strong man!”

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com