Last time Liam Conroy [10(3)-3(1)-1] appeared on a Matchroom card on Sky Sports it didn’t go too well. Weight-drained and inexperienced, the Galway-Barrow fighter was knocked out in the first round of his Prizefighter middleweight quarter final with Cello Renda.
On Saturday Conroy returns to a Matchroom show, fighting on the Anthony Crolla-Jorge Linares undercard, and the 24 year old would be forgiven for feeling nervous or believing that he needs to have a big statement-making win. Instead the light heavyweight takes an entirely different view.
“I don’t feel like I need to make a statement at all, I don’t care,” Conroy told Irish-Boxing.com.
“Everyone has seen me at my worst so there is no pressure.”
“I’m lucky enough that my friends, family and people from Barrow town come and support me time in time out regardless. That never changed after Prizefighter.”
“I just love what I do and focus on getting my job done.”
Since Prizefighter last year, which also featured Dublin’s Luke Keeler, Conroy has rebuilt well, culminating in an impressive fourth round knockout of Ferenc Albert during the Summer. Recalling that win, and its aftermath, the MGM fighter notes how “I’ve had a lot of praise in my local town which felt great.”
“I broke into the top ten light heavies in Great Britain which opened the doors to fights on these bigger shows including how I’ve ended up on Saturday’s show.”
“It was great for my confidence to get a stoppage. I’ve always known I’m capable of stoppages as I stopped a lot in the amateurs but it was nice to get one as it had been a while, especially now I’m boxing up at light heavy.”
“A little confirmation I’ve carried a little bit of a punch up to my new weight.”
“Apart from that I was in the MGM Manchester on the Monday, working on what we felt could have been better. Working with my strength and conditioning trainer at Cumbria S&C, Working towards the next fight.”
While he is appreciative to be boxing on the huge card at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, it could have been so much bigger for Conroy. The North Westerner was due to face Tomi Tatham [11(5)-1(0)] in a British title eliminator, only to see the Yorkshire fighter withdraw from the bout.
The ticket-seller remains on the card, and while there has been a lot of uncertainty, he remains motivated. Conroy explained that “I was out at MGM Marbella training when I found out, Tomi had the decency to text me and let me hear it from him first.”
“At first it was I was gutted as that would have been a great fight. Then I thought maybe I would be off the show totally. After speaking to my trainer Johnney Roye told me to keep preparing for that date as he would be having me fight around then anyways. He assured me that Matchroom would probably find a replacement anyways.”
“So I just kept preparing myself like always, it’s happened to me a couple of times, not having an opponent till late so it’s nothing new.”
“After I got over the initial disappointment it wasn’t hard to find my motivation again. I’ve been motivated I’ve had the chance to fight on a huge show. I’m keen to impress and get back on these big shows in the future.”
“Apparently it [the Eliminator v Tatham] can be arranged at a later date, so hopefully he gets fit again soon and we can get it made.”
“It’s a great fight, if it’s going to be too long I would be happy to have the eliminator with another opponent.”
In Tatham’s place, Conroy now faces the French threat of Baptiste Castegnaro [8(4)-9(0)] over six rounds, and notes that “I think he can be quite dangerous if he catches you so I’ll have to be switched on.”
“I watched a little bit of him on YouTube, I try not to look too much. It’s happened to me on the past where I’ve been totally focused on what I think the opponent will be like then it’s been totally different in there.”
“I just like to get a general feel for what they box like, what they might throw a lot. Anything more than that I leave to Johnney and he comes up with some little things I can implement.”