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Mike ‘The Phoenix’ McWilliams looking to rise to the top

Mike McWilliams [5(2)-0-2] takes a step-up in class, and a step-up in weight, on Friday night in Edmonton, Alberta, but ‘The Phoenix’ intends to rise to the occasion.

The 22 year old of Dublin descent faces Florida fighter Andre Byrd [3(0)-2(0)] in a six-round welterweight contest at the Shaw Conference Centre, and spoke to ahead of the bout.

McWilliams describes himself as “an intelligent fighter, I’m a student of the game whose always learning.”

“I like to think I have my own, unique style.”

“It’s chess in the ring, not checkers, my intent is to make every move count.”

While he possesses something of a pure boxing style, and notes that his favourite fighter is Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, the down-to-earth McWilliams jokes that “my collar is blue and the struggle is real.

Explaining his ear-catching nickname, ‘The Phoenix’ outlined how “I feel that my boxing career has been reborn.”

“I have boxed since I was 6. I’m 22 now and it’s only been since my pro career took off that I take preparation for a fight serious.”

“As far as boxing goes in my priorities, its at the top of the list, right beside eating and breathing.”

On Friday the youngster believes Byrd poses “my biggest test to date.”

“We have some tape on Byrd and a great game plan, he’s a good fighter who is coming to fight.”

“This is actually a weight class up from where I normally fight, Byrd couldn’t cut the weight we originally agreed upon.”

However the late-weight change to 147lbs doesn’t bother McWilliams who feels that “I will be more than ready, and will get the W on the 17th.”

While not overlooking the threat posed by Byrd, McWilliams plans going forward “are to stay busy, stay undefeated, and work my butt off.”

“I stay in shape between fights in case the phone rings. Stay ready to keep from getting ready.”

“In the next year I would like to look at something along the lines of a Canadian title, or a NABA title, then keep going up from there.”

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: