The Irish U22s team flew out to Romania today for the European Championships which start in Braila tomorrow.
However, one man who believes he would have been on the plane, were it not for injury, is Tipperary teen Conor Ivors.
The Thurles welter is the reigning Intermediate champion, but he has not been in the ring since that gutsy display against Thomas O’Toole.
Ivors took to the ring that night mere hours after being injured in a car crash, but scored an adrenaline fuelled win to take top prize.
Only learning the full extent of his injuries afterwards, Ivors has been out of the ring since, missing both the National U22s and the Elite Seniors.
Slowly returning to full fitness, the youngster spoke to Irish-Boxing.com and explained that “I suffered ligament damage behind my collar bone which caused the bone to move and not go back into its original place – but that will have no effect on me when fighting, I also suffered a broken toe and severe whiplash.”
“Recovery has come along leaps and bounds inside in the last few weeks, getting physio and having to swim to try and bring back power to my arm has helped me come on a lot.”
“I’ve been in back training roughly three weeks, but I only got to train for one of those weeks due to tonsillitis and a chest infection.”
A keen observer of the U22s in January, it was both frustrating and encouraging for him to see the welterweight final contested by two of his past foes, Eugene McKeever and John Maughan. St Mary’s Dublin fighter Maughan won that night, but injury dictates that Hold Family Drogheda boxer McKeever will represent Ireland in Romania.
Ivors admitted that “I won’t lie, I found the process [of recovery] hard. To be inside, not having anything to look forward to, I live for this sport and it’s all I want.”
“Seeing two opponents I have previously beaten get to the final, and for one of them to go out and represent Ireland, just makes me want it more next year.”
It’s all about the future now though for the 19 year old, who has used his time on the sidelines to train his mind. The fighter, who has attracted pro interest from both MTK and the Sanigars, described how “mentally, after this injury, I find I’ll be a lot stronger. Even just sitting back and watching my previous fights from the year, picking out faults, and watching my opponents through social media has given me a lot of time to be more prepared mentally and tactically.”
Looking at the year ahead, Ivors outlined that “I’m just hoping to gain a lot of experience at basically a new weight for me and a higher bracket of tougher competition. My first test will be in the Haringey Box Cup in London in June so I’ll be hoping to bring a hold back to Thurles B.C. And after that I’ll just move onto the next thing that comes my way.
“At 69kgs I’m a completely different fighter, not having to cut weight and being my natural weight. I’m a lot stronger and fitter at this weight.”
“But next year will be a big year for me and I’ll have my eyes on only one thing – and that is becoming Senior Elite Champion.”
Jamie Conlan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill for Episode 3 of The Irish Boxing Show: