Boxing

Conor McGregor honing boxing skills ahead of Floyd Mayweather showdown, while heavyweight Daniel Dubois draws fans

Conor McGregor has drafted Omagh's Tiernan Bradley into his training camp for the Dubliner's August 26 showdown with Floyd Mayweather
Duncan Bech and Declan Warrington

Conor McGregor has posted photos on social media of him landing blows on a sparring partner during training for his lucrative showdown with Floyd Mayweather.

The mixed martial artist faces Mayweather in Las Vegas on August 26 in a contest that will be staged under normal boxing rules.

One of the photos published on his official Instagram account shows a bare-chested McGregor finding his target above the caption of "Left uppercut. Southpaw".

The 28-year-old Dubliner can also be seen connecting with a left jab, the picture accompanied by the words "Full 74 inch reach. And I'm in Orthodox".

And with his opponent seen backed up against the ropes in a third photo, McGregor writes "Get into that corner".

Few are expecting the UFC lightweight champion to trouble Mayweather despite his punching power and he has been installed as a 5-1 underdog by bookmakers.

He trained at a gym in his native Dublin as a youngster but has never previously boxed as an amateur or professional, while former multi-weight world champion Mayweather compiled a 49-0 record before retiring two years ago

Meanwhile Britain's next world heavyweight title challenger continues his preparations for his biggest night on Saturday but it is another heavyweight on the undercard attracting the most excitement.

While interest will grow in Tyson Fury's cousin Hughie at London's Copper Box Arena, a wider audience could yet be focused on the 19-year-old Daniel Dubois.

The 22-year-old Hughie Fury challenges WBO champion Joseph Parker in Manchester on September 23, four and a half years after turning professional.

Dubois has been in the paid ranks for only three months, yet already, ahead of his fourth fight against little-known Mexican Julian Fernandez, observers are predicting he will have a hugely-successful future.

Despite being groomed for a place on the Team GB squad for Tokyo 2020, Dubois last year chose to turn professional with Frank Warren.

The promoter has already spoken of plans to request the British Boxing Board of Control to lower the minimum age of 21 for those eligible to challenge for the British title, and the heavyweight has similarly big plans.

His 16-year-old sister Caroline is the European junior lightweight champion in pursuit of Tokyo 2020, while his brother Prince, 12, is also showing promise.

The older sibling is further driven by the potential influence any of his success can have on their ambitions, and he told Press Association Sport: "If I keep winning, their stock will keep rising, they'll get more confident.

"They work just as hard as me, and my sister, her goal right now is the 2020 Olympics.

"Out of all of us, she wanted to do it the most and she's just amazing, where she is now and where she can be in the future.

"Prince could (also) go for the Olympics, depending on how he improves as an amateur.

"It's a big motivation. I'm protective, but my dad watches all of our backs.

"(For me) it was either waiting in Sheffield for three years, and you never know, you might not get the opportunity (to become an Olympian), or to strike while the iron's hot.

"And for a while, it (was on my mind). An Olympic gold medal's great; everything that comes with it, the star treatment and everything."

The benefits of turning professional after winning gold have been clearly demonstrated by Anthony Joshua, already among the world's leading fighters despite only 19 bouts in the paid ranks.

Dubois could yet emerge as his long-term rival, but will have to pursue a different route, perhaps one more like that taken by Hughie Fury, the 20-0 contender he has already sparred.

"(The Furys) welcomed us up to their gym in Bolton, gave us accommodation," he said.

"The sparring was great, it was very competitive, and I just went in there and did my thing. On the last day Tyson came and jumped in for a round. I definitely made my presence known in that gym."


 

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Boxing