Great things can happen at any age if you’re willing to put the work in.
This week’s interview is with champion Irish boxer Michael Conlan, who is already headed right to the top of his sport at the ripe old age of 22.
Here’s what he had to say!
Why don’t you introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
Hi guys! I’m Michael Conlan, Olympic, European and Commonwealth medalist in boxing. All at only 22 years of age!
How did you first get into boxing? Has it always been just boxing for you, or were you into other sports growing up?
I first got into boxing after seeing my dad take my brothers to the gym. I just wanted to do what they were doing. As soon as I started to punch people, I knew it was for me!
I also played football when I was younger. I wasn’t too bad, but I enjoyed boxing a lot more.
Tell us a bit about your training methods. Do you use mostly bodyweight exercises or are there some weights thrown in there as well?
I train twice a day, six days a week. It involves a lot of pad work, bag work and sparring in the evening session, but in the mornings it’s either sprints, long runs, or strength and conditioning. My strength training involves a mix of weightlifting and bodyweight exercises.
Could you walk us through a typical training day for Michael Conlan? How is your day structured?
I wake up at 10am and have breakfast, then at 11am I get ready for strength and conditioning or sprint training. After that I have lunch, which includes a recovery shake, some carbs, and some protein.
I then rest until 4pm when my second session starts. I do a twenty minute warm-up routine, which includes loosening up and then some high-tempo shadow boxing. After that I put on hand wraps and gloves and I’m ready to go.
Some training days I’ll hit the bags and pads. On those days I’ll then just get some ab work in and a warm-down, and then I’m done for the day. Other days I’ll be in the ring doing school combat, which is technical sparring under instruction, or sparring, which is just like a fight.
The level of conditioning required for your sport is incredible. What does your conditioning work consist of?
My conditioning includes a lot of circuit work, sprints and long runs. I need my heart rate to be super high in most sessions to get my fitness through the roof!
How do you get a psychological edge over your opponents?
I’m ranked number two in the world, so I think that puts a bit of fear into my opponents! I’m also super confident in my ability, and I know that nobody in the world can out-work me in the ring. I also believe I have a lot more heart than my opponents. That’s what I think gives me an edge over everyone else.
Congratulations on your recent gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. What has been the highlight of your boxing career so far?
My personal highlight is either that recent gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, or my Olympic bronze. They each mean so much to me, so it’s hard to split them.
What’s it like having your father as your coach? Do you think having that extra connection with your coach is beneficial?
It’s fantastic. He’s been my coach all my life and to have in my corner in major championships is great. I feel really comfortable and relaxed with him.
It can be hard though, because he has to show that he doesn’t take it easy on me. That means he goes harder on me than he does the others!
How do you kick back and relax? What do you do when you’ve got some time off from training?
I usually just chill round the house, hang out with my mates, and play some snooker. My career is quite demanding so I can’t really go out and party. I always need to be in good shape.
Where are you headed? What are your long-term goals in the sport?
I feel like I’m on the right path towards major success! I will become champion of the world in multiple weight divisions.