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April 11, 2017

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MICHAEL CONLAN PART I
By G. Leon

GL: What's the latest and greatest? How's everything going in preparation for your next bout, which is scheduled to take place in mid-May? Everything is going really well. I'm back in camp and I started sparring yesterday, I'm feeling sharp and I'll be ready to rock. I feel like I could fight right now, I've just got to get everything under control and improve on the little things and keep improving every day towards the next one. I'm ready to keep active and I'm looking forward to it.

GL: Do you have any idea who you'll be fighting next?

Michael Conlan: "I have no idea yet, I'm sure once the venue and date are confirmed I'll get one. It doesn't matter who it is because when I get in there it's about me doing the job." Note: Conlan will be fighting in Chicago on May 26.

GL: Will it be scheduled for 6?

MC: "I think so, but it could be eight. We'll sit and talk with Top Rank and see what the best option is."

GL: What did headlining at the Garden in your pro debut mean to you?

MC: "It's definitely the pinnacle of my sporting career so far. Obviously I'm going to move on to bigger and better things, but the Garden was special. The opponent, I felt like I rushed in that performance trying to get the knockout and I probably should have relaxed more when I look back, but it is what it is and I still got the job done. I had a lot of pressure on me, I had a whole country come there to support me. It was a good experience and great exposure and I look forward to fighting there again in the future."

GL: What made you first fall in love with boxing?

MC: "My big brothers. They started boxing before me and I just wanted to be like my older brothers. I came to gym with them and once I was in there I came to love the craft right away. I loved at an early age the art of hitting and not getting it. I watched Prince Naseem and the way he would laugh at people and do all this crazy stuff, I didn't like his attitude, but I like that in the ring he was able to outclass people. The entertainment of it all made me fall in love with the sport. 

GL: Who's your favorite fighter?

MC: "Of all time?"

GL: Sure, let's start there.

MC: "Sugar Ray Leonard."

GL: A killer with a smile.

MC: "Big time. He had speed, power, he could box going forwards, he could box going backwards, he had everything."

GL: What about among active boxers?

MC: "Pacquiao was my favorite, but now my favorite is Vasyl Lomachenko. He's so skilled it's unbelievable."

GL: Considering how things turned out in Rio, do you kind of wish you turned pro sooner?

MC: "No. Definitely not. I feel that even with all that happened in Rio, I think the experience I gained from the amateurs, and even that result, it's made me a better person. It's made me a more appreciative person of sport, of life, of everything. If I would have turned pro after London 2012 where I got bronze, I don't think I'd be in the position I'm in today, so I definitely don't regret it."

GL: You didn't do anything but tell the truth in your post fight interview immediately following your loss in Rio, but do you regret any of the things you said? Would you have handled that differently now?

MC: "Nope. If I was in that position I'd do the exact same thing. I'd call out everybody again and say what needed to be say. I felt like I was right in the first place so I wouldn't change it now."

GL: How did you and Matthew Mackin first link up? What made you want to sign with him?

MC: "I started speaking with Matt during the 2012 games. He was somebody that I always watched on TV and then this guy who I was watching TV was telling me during the games how good of a professional boxer I would be. He wasn't approaching me to become a professional or whatever, it was just little advice and hints about my amateur career. We ended up becoming close over time, I went to watch him in Dublin and he gave me ringside tickets and I was like wow, this guy who has fought for the world title three times is taking me under his wing and it felt natural. He ended up working with my brother Jamie and I just felt like it was the right guy for me. He's been around the game for a long time and he's probably done everything the wrong way because if he had done things right he probably would have been a world champion, but he's got the experience of knowing what's right and wrong and how things should and shouldn't be done."

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