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Matt Conway: Not your average Irish-American fighter

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On Friday night at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, local boy Matt Conway [6(3)-0] steps into the ring for the seventh time as a pro.

Boxing out of Follansbee an hour down the road in West Virginia, the 20 year old of Cork descent is a student of the game, and quite unlike many of the blood-and-guts Irish-Americans you so often see.

Ahead of his fight on the Rivers Rumble V card, Conway spoke to Irish-Boxing.com and explained his love of Ukrainian technician Vasyl Lomachenko. The light welterweight starlet described how “I like to think my boxing style as being very multi-dimensional.”

“I can adapt to any type of fighter I need to.”

“I have speed and power and I’d like to compare myself to Vasyl Lomachenko – even though I’m a righty – because I love his style.”

“I study everything he does.”

Indeed Conway’s ring moniker, Sweet Child, evokes memories of another supremely skilled fighter, Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker, and Conway recalls how “my dad gave me that nickname when I was a kid and it just kind of stuck.”

“Everybody loves it and it has a good ring to it.”

Boxing since early childhood, Conway took the plunge into the professional World at the tender age of 19, and he notes that there are both positives and negatives to a move that few Irish boxers take.

On one hand it can be tough “because there’s guys a lot older that have more experience than me as a pro.”

However Conway sees the positives and argues that “if you look at my background, I have a lot of amateur experience, and I can be the younger faster guy.”

His early apprenticeship served, the Appalachian takes on Chrisshawn Alexander [4(3)-2(1)] on Friday, a fighter who is coming to win. Conway has done his homework and believes that “It will definitely be a tough fight.”

“We have watched some video on him and he looks to be very fast, but it doesn’t look like he has much power.”

“He has a lot of amateur experience so he’s not going to let me come straight to him.”

“He’ll make it a fight

His upcoming test is one that the youngster can not afford to fail, as he reveals that “I have a fight scheduled in September for a state title belt in West Virginia against a tough opponent.”

“My plan for the rest of 2016 will be to just keep moving forward.”

“I’ll just keep getting the experience and pushing on.”

Already well-supported in the West Virginia-Pennsylvania area, Conway’s targets go much further than regional star, and he admits that “my ambitions in boxing are to make a name for myself.”

“A lot of people now know me but I hope to be able to make it to the top and one day.”

“I’d like to make a statement, that a young kid from Pittsburgh who has big dreams can fulfill those dreams as long as he works hard and is dedicated.”

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