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Michael Conlan: Only gold will do

 

Anything short of gold in Glasgow will represent “failure” to Irish boxer Michael Conlan.

The 22-year-old from Belfast memorably won bronze in London two years ago.Despite setting a sky-high target for himself, Michael insists he does not even feel under pressure.

Ultra-competitive

Currently world number two at Bantamweight, he admits that even by the standards of elite athletes he is ultra-competitive.

He said: “I don’t like anyone beating me, even in training. “It does my head in if anyone beats me at anything. I am competitive with everything. Obviously to win a silver or bronze is still good, but I would be really disappointed on the day.”

It would be natural to assume that such high expectations mean he is piling the pressure on himself, but Michael disagrees. “I don’t really think of it as pressure,” he said.“I think it makes me more determined to train harder, to be better. I don’t read into pressure at all. Mentally I just focus on all the positives.

Early start

Michael started boxing when he was just seven years old, and turned to competitive fighting when he was 11. Although he is now focusing on August when he will travel to Glasgow for his first Commonwealth Games, he says that the Olympics is always at the back of his mind.His two older brothers Jamie, 27 and Brendan, 25, also started boxing young, with Jamie now a professional in the sport.

Despite not being lined up as a favourite in 2012, Michael managed to walk away with a bronze medal. “My main goal is Rio. it’s always in the back of my mind. I one hundred percent want gold there too. I already have a bronze, so I want the gold. I wasn’t expected to make 2012, as I was only 19 at the time. My coaches said to focus on Rio, and even when I made it they told me not to worry Rio would be my time. So when I won the bronze it was amazing.”

So amazing, in fact, that Michael is taking no chances with the security of his medal – even if it’s not quite the colour he craves. “My medal’s safe at home - inside a safe,” he said