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Saturday 10 December 2016

'Conor's powerful enough to knock him out', claims UFC champ's former boxing coach

10 December 2015; Conor McGregor, left, during an open workout session ahead of his fight against Jose Aldo. UFC 194: Open Workouts, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, USA. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
10 December 2015; Conor McGregor, left, during an open workout session ahead of his fight against Jose Aldo. UFC 194: Open Workouts, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, USA. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Conor McGregor's former boxing coach is predicting a knock-out victory in Las Vegas in what will be the biggest fight of the Dubliner's life.

"He's powerful enough to knock him out - he's very big for the weight," said Philip Sutcliffe, head coach at Crumlin Boxing Club.

The clash with Jose Aldo in the early hours of tomorrow will see the 27-year-old challenge the Brazilian fighter for the UFC Featherweight Championship.

"Conor is ambidextrous, he's very elusive in the ring, he has fast hands and is powerful. I hope he takes Aldo out - it would be great for the country," Philip said.

'The Notorious' McGregor trained at the boxing club for four years and cut his teeth in combat sports under Philip's watchful eye.

"Conor came into the gym around 12 years of age, he was very enthusiastic to learn the sport, he trained hard - he wanted to go places," he said.

"He was always strong and packed a bit of a wallop."

McGregor's family are still heavily involved with the club. His sister Erin and his mother Margaret train there regularly.

"We're very proud of Conor and we're very proud of the family ... they're still part and parcel of the club," said Philip.

McGregor's sister seemingly has the fighting gene, too.

"Erin is very fit and hopes to have her first boxing contest after Christmas," said Philip.

McGregor's dad, Tony, was spotted on Grafton Street this week where he told fans that his son was "in the best shape of his life".

He went on to predict a resounding victory, saying he "holds all the cards".

Encouraged

McGregor's former principal, Muiris O Briain, said mixed martial arts is not the type of sport he'd have encouraged in the school yard as the children would "end up breaking each other's necks".

Now retired, Muiris he remembers his fam-ous pupil as "just a small blondie-fella" when he attended Scoil Mologa in Harold's Cross.

"Fair play to him, he's done very well and long may it last for him," he said.

"I remember seeing him out in the yard ... he was a very handy soccer player."

McGregor played for Lourdes Celtic Football Club and even won the league, in which boxer Katie Taylor, Niall Quinn and Damien Duff were also players.

"He was very competitive and he always trained well," said his coach there, Carol Lacy.

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