Ahead of the European Championships in Samokov, Mick Conlan is adamant that “I am going to Bulgaria to win gold – just the way I do when I enter every tournament.”
The 41st edition of the continental tournament begins tomorrow at 5pm (Irish time) and, before jetting off, Conlan spoke to the Belfast Telegraph.
While he is aiming for a gold to add to the European silver he won in 2013, this trademark confidence is despite a less than perfect preparation, with Conlan revealing that “my preparation hasn’t been the way it would normally be for a major championships but I need to go to qualify for the Worlds and I feel I am in good enough shape to get the gold.”
“After the World Series of Boxing, I got back into training in June, started to tick over and then had a holiday in July. I had a hand injury which stopped my punching for a couple of weeks but I have trained very hard and even on holiday I ran an average of eight kilometres a day.”
“I’ll have to get on with it and focus on getting through each fight. The fitness is good and it’s just a case of the technical bits and timing coming together and I am confident they will.”
The Clonard ABC fighter predicts that “I’ll get better and better as the tournament goes on, it’s just a matter of getting back into competition and into boxing three rounds because in the World Series of Boxing I was boxing five rounds at a more controlled pace.
While the Irish amateur team is normally dominated by Ulster boxers, Conlan is the province’s sole representative for these championships. A large hole, metaphorically, will be left in the team by Conlan’s friend Paddy Barnes and the Belfast bantamweight admitted that “It’s going to be weird not having the wee angry man there who you can hardly look at sometimes when he’s making weight!”
“It will be strange not having Paddy or even Sean McComb, because the Belfast guys always stick together and Paddy and I always get on very well.”
On his relationship with the double Olympic bronze medalist, Conlan explains that “we drive each other on, that’s the way it has been the past four years when we have gone to competitions and we have matched each other every time with the success we’ve had.”