Belfast super-flyweight star Jamie Conlan concedes that he provided Mexican opponent Junior Granados with some unexpected inspiration ahead of their breathtaking Fight of the Year candidate at Dublin’s National Stadium in July.
‘I’d been flying in camp, hurting all the sparring partners but, for once, I over ate at breakfast on the day of the fight and developed stomach cramps. Granados actually witnessed me vomiting as I walked to the ring!’ disclosed the amiable 5ft 7in Ulsterman who twice hauled himself off the canvas before storming to a unanimous 10 round points win.
‘In the early rounds my body was rigid and stiff. Bizarrely, once I got dropped by the body shots, the cramps disappeared!
‘Being on the canvas was a weird experience. I wasn’t badly hurt. It was more like that sickening feeling when a ball hits you full on in the testicles. All I could think was: ‘Get up, get up, get up!’ I just remember Junior’s big, burning eyes fixed on me, willing me to get up so he could set about me again!
‘I have to say the Dublin crowd were unreal, ridiculous. They played a huge part in getting me through the crisis, riding out Granados’ 90 second onslaught.
‘The atmosphere was chaotic from the start yet it grew even louder when I went down. Seriously, I could not hear my corner’s instructions before the final three rounds. They drove me on. It was something which I’ll never forget.’
Nevertheless, while the high octane slugfest for the WBO Inter-Continental belt enthralled Dublin fight fans, it also alerted Conlan that several aspects of his game still require a bit of spit and polish.
‘Though it was a great fight, initially I was disappointed with my performance. I did loads wrong; mainly poor defence and lack of head movement,’ acknowledges the WBO sixth rated star who is trained by Danny Vaughan at the MGM Gym in Marbella, Spain.
‘But in hindsight it turned out great for me because it really boosted my profile and got me recognition. If I’d scored an early blow out or had a routine points win it would have passed largely unnoticed.
‘Being centre of attention as top of the bill doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t crave the spotlight. I’d rather hang at the back but it’s all part of the sport. If I want to be in the biggest fights for the most money, I have to put myself out there. I love talking about boxing at press conferences but hate pushing myself into opponent’s faces. I don’t glorify confrontation.’
Now undefeated in 14, with eight stoppages, the man they call ‘The Mexican’ returns to the revered venue this Saturday, for a mark time eight rounder with Argentina’s …….and is hoping to deliver an alternative brand of entertainment.
‘I still intend to be explosive, just a bit more calculated,’ says the incurable little action man.
‘The Granados fight was my first with Danny and it was a real baptism of fire. For Saturday, I’ve had a 12 week camp in Marbella. That’s two weeks longer than last time but I just wanted to work on so many things, ensure every box is ticked for mega fights against the likes of Paul Butler and Kal Yafai down the road.
‘Hopefully, there’ll be no mistakes this time. I want to show the Dublin crowd the new stuff, the different combos we’ve been working on.
‘I’ve not seen the opponent but I never do. I leave all that to my dad and Danny. I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s what I do that matters. If I get my game ‘spot on’ I win the fight. If I don’t I could lose.
‘I just want to keep progressing every fight, edging closer to my dreams.’