Irish amateur boxing legend Michael Conlan is gearing up for his professional debut at Madison Square Garden, New York next month, and he was joined in the gym by a very special guest this week.
UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and Conlan have struck up quite the friendship in recent months; McGregor remains a big supporter of Irish boxing, and will carry the tricolour to the ring at The Garden when Conlan makes his bow in the professional ranks. This was a deal struck to considerable fanfare on stage at an event in Belfast in early December.
TheMacLife.com filmed McGregor joining Conlan in Santa Monica's Box 'n' Burn gym, where 'The Notorious' too put in some hard yards while he figures out his next career move - be it in the UFC or otherwise.
We're not sure Conlan will ever have a man carrying his umbrella for him, but he's certainly enthused by the notion of McGregor leading him into the ring at MSG on Paddy's Day.
He recently told the Irish Examiner:
Yeah, Conor McGregor will keep his word, for sure.
We’ll both walk out together and Conor will be carrying the tricolour, on Paddy’s Day, behind me. It’s going to be extremely special.
We’ll raise the roof. He is the hype machine. Everything he touches at the minute seems to be turning to gold. The fact that he’s on board and willing to come along and support me, just shows I’ve earned a bit of respect in the fight world. But to have him there with me, two Irishmen... It just brings the whole thing to a new level.
What I have planned for my debut is going to be mental. The ring entrance, everything — I have the whole thing planned. I even have my kit picked already. It’s Prince Naseem kind of shit! I’m not copying him or anything, but the way he made a show coming out to the ring, I’m going to make a show, and make entertainment for boxing again.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 20, 2017
Thanks champ!! Great seeing you as always, looking very sharp & strong. See you in march pal 👊🏼☘️ https://t.co/oFtVm1nW91
— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) February 20, 2017
— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) February 18, 2017