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Monday 10 December 2018

Dylan's top of the pops

I've dreamed of Irish title fight for years - McDonagh

Dylan McDonagh. Photo: Getty
Dylan McDonagh. Photo: Getty

It's Thursday, two days before tonight's Irish super-bantamweight title fight at Good Counsel GAA club, and Dylan McDonagh is having a quiet chuckle at his opponent's impending discomfort.

"Hopefully Carl makes the weight," he quips. "I'm bang on the weight. It's great when you're underweight the day before the weigh-in. There's no pressure at all."

The headline fight, between McDonagh and Carl McDonald, on Boxing Irelandthe Herald's Celtic Clash 7 show is an intriguing match-up.

Two fighters from Jobstown, who met as amateurs, bid to lift this prestigious belt, get into the European rankings and create the possibility of bigger, more lucrative prize fights down the line.

"I've dreamt of this for years," says McDonagh. "This is the pinnacle of Irish boxing. There's so much history behind it. A win would be a dream come true. That's why I've trained even harder for this than ever before."

McDonagh is in the zone.

"I know there's only one person in the way now and that's Carl," he states. "I believe I'll go though him."

Statistically, there's not much difference between these two fighters.

McDonald (4-2) won the BUI Celtic featherweight title in July two months after he took unbeaten future Commonwealth champion Jordan Gill the distance in the Millennium Dome at super-featherweight.

McDonagh (3-1, 1KO) lost a close eight-round fight against Welsh prospect Sean McGoldrick in Cardiff in August and has since switched from his old amateur coach to Jonathan Lewins.

"I wish I'd been with Jonathan years ago," says McDonagh. "We gelled straight away. It's been a great move both professionally and personally. He's worked on so many different things. And he's brought me off for world-class sparring as well."

Plying your trade in the ultra-competitive Joe Gallagher's gym in Manchester is like moving from a cake shop to working on a furnace. It's intense.

"It's kill or be killed in there," says McDonagh. "And you have the eyes of the famous Joe Gallagher watching you. It's really boosted my confidence. I even had Anthony Crolla on wishing me the best of luck. It's amazing."

McDonagh has watched some of McDonald's fights.

"I knew I needed to watch him just in case," he says. "He's not consistent. I have to capitalise on that and be on my game and not switch off."

"I'm 33 but I'm a fresh 33," he adds. "There's no wear and tear on me. This is just the beginning."

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