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A driver theory test and Mike Tyson – how Monaghan’s Larry Fryers ended up boxing in New York

Formerly a top underage amateur, Larry Fryers had long left the sport when he arrived to New York three years ago.

However, on Saturday night he will find himself in the ring in Palm Springs, California for his second professional fight – and next month he will feature on the undercard of Mick Conlan’s massive Madison Square Garden debut.

How the 26 year old Monaghan man found himself in the situation is a roundabout story, and one which owes a lot to former heavyweight king Mike Tyson.

Fryers emigrated to East Durham, an Irish-American hub in Upstate New York, which just happens to be a short distance away from Catskill – the former training base of Tyson, and he would soon find himself training out of the same gym where Iron Mike honed his trade under the legendary Cus D’Amato..

The Clones boxer told Irish-Boxing.com his story and admitted that “how I came to box in New York is a funny one.”

Outlining his route into the pro side of the sport, Fryers recalled how “I hadn’t boxed in three years when me and my fiancĂ©e moved over here and, believe it or not, I had no intentions of ever boxing again to be honest.”

“My father, who was my coach and my inspiration to get back into the sport, kept saying to me that, because I lived in East Durham near the Catskill Mountains, that I should go and check out Mike Tyson’s old gym.”

Fryers would not seek out the Cus D’Amato’s KO Boxing Gym, however he would soon find himself there. He explained how “by pure chance one day me and my fiancĂ©e were in the Catskills because I was doing my driving theory test and, across the road, was Tyson’s old gym!”

“It was up above the police station and we went in and the police officer told me it was closed but she give me a number to call to make an appointment to check it out. About two weeks went by and one day I looked in my wallet and saw the number and thought “feck it, I’ll give this guy a ring and see if I can get a tour of the place.'”

What began as a tour would morph into an audition, and Fryes laughs at how “before I knew it, this guy had asked me would I be interested in fighting again and, without really thinking, I just said yes. I went to the gym on a Friday night to meet the trainers and by Monday I was back at the gym to start training.”

Immensely rusty, the Ulsterman would ease his way back into boxing, first having two amateur bouts. However, his all-action style would catch the eye of the man who promoted Tyson’s first 19 pro fights.

“About 3 months later, after my first amateur, later this guy approached me,” Fryer continued. “His name was Bob Miller and he asked me would I be interested in coming up to train at his camp up in Plattsburgh – which is three hours from where I was living – for a couple of days.”

“So about four weeks later, and straight after my second amateur fight, me and my fiancĂ©e came up on a Sunday night. That Monday morning Bob Miller came into the camp at seven in the morning, I was in and just about to start training, and he just comes straight out and says he wants me to relocate up to Plattsburgh and go professional!”

“After a couple of days at the camp, me and my fiancĂ©e went home and sat and talked it over and, only for her, she said let’s do it. We moved up and the rest is history.”

His pro journey would begin last August with a win that had onlookers comparing him to Irish-American legend Micky Ward. A tragic car accident would leave NYS Hall of Fame promoter Miller paralysed, but Fryers will now return on Saturday night under Liveco Boxing for his second pro bout before before a massive opportunity next month.

So far Fryers is the sole Irishman announced for Mick Conlan’s professional debut with Top Rank at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day.

While it would be easy to do, Fryers is not looking past his four-rounder with debutant Rolando Padilla in Palm Springs tomorrow.

The Irishman admits that “the Conlan show is an amazing opportunity. To get to fight in Madison Square Garden – it’s a dream come true, I’m still pinching myself over it.”

“But look, I have plenty of time to dwell on it after this fight. [Padilla] is the most important fight in my eyes and, as hard as it’s been because of all the hype about the Conlan show, Saturday is my main priority.”

“It’s my first fight with my new promotional company Liveco Boxing and I’m going out to put on a show for them and show them that they were right to sign me. Having that in mind, the Conlan show hasn’t been that big of a distraction.”

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