Forne dubbelmästaren Conor McGregor dök förra helgen upp på ’Crumlins Boxing Club’ i sin hemstad Crumlin i Dublin, Irland. Han deltog där i en boxningsmatch för välgörenhet och mötte då Michael McGrane, ett möte som blev en överraskning då det tidigare inte annonserats.
Den irländske och och tvåfaldigt olympiske boxningslegenden Phil Sutcliffe Sr. som tränade McGregor i boxning under hans tonår, berättar här om hur det hela gick till.
It was a last-minute thing.
Conor came in for a bit of sparring and we were delighted. I told him he never needed an invitation to come back to his home gym and we were delighted that he came. He did some pads with our own Patrick Brady, and also two of our other coaches, Brian Geraghty and Tommy Martin.
Efter detta berättade McGregor att han var intresserad av att delta på kortet för Good Friday, som han gick match på för 15 år sedan på amatörnivå.
He knows how famous [the Good Friday events] are, they’re famous all over the world. We’ve had people from all over the world box on our Good Friday shows, some of the biggest names in Irish boxing have boxed on these shows.
Conor said he’d love to box on the Good Friday show. He boxed on the Good Friday show in 2004 and he said he’d like to go again. I said, ‘No problem, but we have to get a proper match for you,’ you know, someone that’s around his own weight and someone around his own class.
Sutcliffe utsåg sedan McCrane som motståndare, som McGregor tidigare sparrats mot.
[Phil] told me after the spar on Wednesday. He said, ’Hopefully Conor gets back to us about Friday—you and him could be the main event’.
McCrane har gått många matcher tidigare, men berättade att han var tveksam till att acceptera matchningen.
Det här berättade McCrane:
My nerves were gone. I had my Ma there, I had my granddad there and I had every single one of my mates there. I suppose you could say there was a small bit of pressure there, but it was a lifetime experience. It was just perfect, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. I’m about to go professional myself. I have a fight coming up in Denmark next month and I was thinking that after that fight I might go professional. I think this made it all fall into place a bit.
He’s a 10-out-of-10 showman. As a striker, his power is 10-out-of-10 as well. He landed [punches] with accuracy and precision. You can see that in his UFC fights, he always stops people with his [punches]. But they didn’t stop me. I’m not American, I’m Irish, so I think he knew he was in for a fight after I sparred him on the Wednesday!
Sutcliffe beskriver McGregors prestation som enastående och betonar momentet då McGregor fick ner McCrane på mattan med ett kroppsslag i den tredje ronden.
He showed supreme class in sparring Micheal McGrane, who was an Irish champion. It was a great spar, the two of them went hell for leather at each other. Conor decked him with a body shot in the third round, which was fantastic. Micheal got back up and he went at Conor straight away. He’s a warrior, he went back at Conor and he caught him with some beautiful shots. Conor danced away from him, but it was a very good exhibition of boxing.
Det här hade McCrane att säga om händelsen:
He caught me with a body shot and he took every last gasp of wind out of me. I didn’t think I was going to comeback from it to be honest, but when you’re looking at the crowd and you’re looking at the corner…you have to get your breath back. I got my wind back before the 10 count, so I knew I was ready to rock again.
Sutcliffe beeskriver även McGregor som en suverän underhållare:
There was a bit of showboating. I can’t go without saying it, but Conor is a showboater. There was a bit of showboating and there was some spectacular head movement from Conor. It was a great attempt by Micheal, he wasn’t holding back for one instant. It was cracking bout, the two of them went hell for leather as I said, but Conor was just that little bit more skillfull than Micheal with the body shot.
Det har under en tid spekulerats om McGregors nästa match i UFC. Enligt McCrane är den irländske MMA-stjärnan i toppform och definitivt redo för ett möte.
He looks fit and ready to go, but you still don’t know what he’s thinking or what his plans are for fighting again, you really don’t know. It’s hard to know what he’s thinking. He’s a multi-millionaire, he could have anything going through his head, you wouldn’t know. He’s in fighting condition anyway, that’s a definite.
Tränaren Paddy Brady passade på att skämta med McGregor om pengarna som han var skyldig honom. McGregor lånade för flera år sedan 70 euro av Paddy för att kunna köpa verktyg för sin praktik som rörmokare.
McGregor betalade av sin skuld och poserade sedan för ett foto med Brady, där han hade visade upp certifikatet för sitt deltagandet under Good Friday.
Det här berättade Brady:
That’s the money owes me from 15 years ago. I got him his tools when he was going off to do his plumbing and he never paid me back. Every time I see him I say, ‘Don’t forget you owe me that few bob!’
“It was a joke between a few of us, it was going around the whole club. We had a picture in the gym of Paddy saying [Conor owed him money] on Sky television before the Mayweather fight. Conor was slagging him and he wrote him a check for 70 quid. Now, the check isn’t going to be cashed, it’s going to be photographed with a picture of the two of them and it’s going up on the wall.
Sutcliffe berättar även att McGregor kommer att bidra till stora uppgraderingar av boxningsgymmet framöver.
Conor is going to help us with refurbishing the gym. The gym was already refurbished, but we still have things to do with the club. We’re always in the growing process, we always want to be better for the kids and to continue to produce champions.