Boxing

Michael Conlan excited by link up with new trainer Adam Booth

Belfast boxer Michael Conlan with new trainer Adam Booth at his London gym yesterday

MICHAEL Conlan has admitted fearing he was “turning into a slugger” – and is looking forward to getting back to basics after hooking up with new coach Adam Booth.

It is not even a year since Conlan made his pro debut on a crazy night at the Madison Square Garden theatre, and he progressed to 5-0 against Argentine Luis Fernando Molina at the same venue in December.

By then, though, the wheels were already in motion for a return home from Los Angeles. With a second baby on the way in July, Conlan and fiancée Shauna decided to take the plunge earlier this month.

And as soon as he knew he was coming back, there was only one man Conlan wanted to work with.

Booth built his reputation with former world heavyweight champion David Haye, but is best known on this side of the Irish Sea for guiding Ryan Burnett to two world titles last year.

With Booth in his corner, Conlan hopes to follow the career trajectory of his fellow Belfast boy.

“If there was any trainer I wanted to work with it was Adam Booth because I believe he is the best coach in the UK,” said the 26-year-old, who will be back at the Garden on St Patrick’s Day for his first fight with his new trainer.

“I had to see if Adam wanted to train me because Adam likes to keep his stable small, he likes to give fighters the time they need and having too many fighters can affect that.

“I appreciate that he was willing to take me on and give me his time, and I’ve been in there with the boys for the past few weeks and I’m enjoying it.

“His coaching style suits my boxing style, that was one of the main reasons I wanted to go with him.

“Look at Ryan; he has gone to another level. They have a great bond – not everybody can have that bond with a coach, but he seems like he gets on with his fighters.

“He has fun, he’s always smiling and he seems like a guy who loves his job. That’s what I feel I needed.”

Conlan insists there was no fall out with former coach Manny Robles – “it’s just a family-based decision” - but admits he was worried that his natural boxing skills were not being deployed to best effect.

“I felt I was kind of turning into a slugger - a Mexican-style fighter - and that’s not me,” continued Conlan.

“My style has changed a bit, but I feel I need more one-on-one personal stuff. I just need to get back to basics and do what I do best instead of flying on and going 100 miles an hour instead of focusing on what’s happening in the now.

“In the time Adam and I have been together, he has been very smart with what he’s been doing with me.

“I feel he is the guy who can take me to the next level.”

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