January 18, 2017
January 18, 2017
Rio 2016

Action Images/Reuters/Peter Cziborra

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What’s it like in LA training with Manny Robles?

It’s been fantastic. We clicked right away. He’s the trainer for me. He’s been giving me things I need to work on.

He’s helped me improve all the time and that’s what I want to do, I want to get better every single day.

He reminds me a bit of my own father, the way he would approach things. He’s always the boss but we’re able to have fun. That’s all a part of training.

He’s been working on little things, like my inside work, when I’m coming in close. I’m open to some shots because I leave my chin there sometimes. In the amateurs I was getting away with it but in the pros you won’t get away with that. Normal things, he’s just adding to what I have he’s not going to change me as a fighter. I’m still going to be the same kind of boxer as what I was.

We’ve got some good sparring, it was my first time properly in the ring [on Monday] since the Games and I was happy with where I was at. I still have a lot of improving to do. That was me probably at 50%. Come fight night I’ll be raring to go.

What’s the atmosphere like in the gym?

Oscar [Valdez] and Jessie [Magdaleno] are like Manny’s two main guys and to have me and them two in the gym, I felt like I meant something in the gym. I felt like I was meant to be there and they thought well of me.

Is it different starting out as the newcomer?

It’s great. In Ireland I was the number one but now I’m now nobody here. I love it out here. I have to prove myself again. It’s good.

Do you have an idea of how many times you’ll be boxing and the route you’ll be going?

My year starts from March, that’s my first fight. I’ll have definitely six fights but possibly eight. One of those fights is definitely going to be in Ireland, in Belfast or Dublin and then, if Pacquiao’s fighting in Australia, we’ll be fighting in Australia.

Do you know who the opponent is going to be for your pro debut?

I heard it’s someone called Tim Ibarra [4-4 from Colorado]. He boxed Manny’s son  back in 2012. So Manny will know about him.

You got Conor McGregor to agree to walk you to the ring, are you going to hold him to that?

We were talking when he was in Belfast and he said no problem. We shook on it. So I expect him to be there.

And AIBA have issued you with a fine…

They’re not going to try and get it. They’re going to wait until if I ever want to be involved in AIBA or the national governing body. That means coming back to box or coming back to coach or whatever. They will then impose the fine… They’ll never get it.