John Kavanagh has given a long - and illuminating - interview to Paul Kimmage in today's Sunday Independent.
The full interview has yet to be posted online, once it has, we'll update this post to include the link. It's a really superb interview, with one-half of the interview delving into Kavanagh's fascinating character, with the latter half dealing with his relationship with Conor McGregor.
This second half, naturally, begins with their first meeting. McGregor first walked into Kavanagh's gym in 2007, and he picked a fight with Owen Roddy. We'll let the transcript do the rest of the talking...
Paul Kimmage (PK): And you're watching this with an inquisitive eye?
John Kavanagh (JK): Of course. Owen had been with me a long time - he was my boy - but this new kid moved in a certain way. He was a southpaw, a good boxer and he just had a good way about him that made you go: "What's going to happen here" And he caught Owen with a good shot and put him down.
PK: And then he floored Aisling Daly, which was incredible really.
JK: It sounds worse than it was. He wasn't hitting her in the head or anything, but just happened to throw a body shot that hit her in the sweet spot, the solar plexus, and put her down.
PK: And now the coach is not happy.
JK: I got a little emotional because Ash had been with me a lng time and the other guys would look after her. But this new guy had come in and put her down, and my protective nature kicked in. I was still fighting at that stage, or hadn't stopped that long, so I put the gloves on...actually, he has corrected me on that and says it was bare knuckles. But I held him down and beat the shit out of him, without putting too fine a point on it.
JK: I kept hitting him in the body until he couldn't breathe and then I looked at him: "What's it going to be? We can train or we can fight? And he was OK from the next day.
Remarkable. It's something out of the Brian Clough/Roy Keane book of coach/player relationship. It all worked out pretty spectacularly for both men from thereon, and the interview offers a fantastic insight into both men. We recommend you pick it up.
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