Phelan sets sights high
Kildareman back from US is Irish boxing's 'dark horse'
Allan Phelan dislocated his shoulder in his first pro fight.
"It was fully out of the socket in the last round so they stopped the fight," recalls the Newbridge fighter. "After the doctor put it back in, I was off the stool saying, 'I'm ready to fight'."
Following surgery, Phelan's second fight was also a disaster.
"I thought I'd won," he protests. "And I was winning the first fight, so in my mind I didn't lose. I thought, 'It's boxing. Stuff like this happens. Some of the best guys have defeats'."
Phelan went on to put together an enviable 7-2-1 (4 KOs) record and is now on the verge of challenging for titles.
With a recent comfortable points win against Nicaragua's Johnson Tellez to his credit, Phelan says: "My immediate goal is to get back on track and stay active over the next few months."
He's already booked to appear on the undercard of the Mike Perez fight at the National Stadium on April 1.
"There are titles out there for me," he stresses. "I need to get back to my peak where I'm sharp. Then I'll be ready to start stepping up."
What makes Phelan (25) different is that he's only had one fight in Ireland.
He established his career in the States where he'd gone to work in construction.
"The plan was to box over there," he explains. "I got introduced to Victor Roundtree who was Danny Jacobs' trainer and started sparring. Then I was asked if I wanted to go pro. I knew I had the ability so I said yes. I was seventeen."
He became the first ever Irishman to fight as a professional in the Dominican Republic.
"I've been through tough times but I know I'm a dark horse," he says. "There's very little video coverage of my fights in America so no one knows about my skills or ability. I know I'll do well here."
Training out of the Celtic Warrior Gym, where he gets top sparring with the likes of Stephen Ormond, Phelan says: "I learned in America that you sink or swim in the gym. You have to be able to get in with the best so you can learn. You have to push yourself and be tested."
With Eric Donovan progressing, it's rumoured a possible all Kildare title clash could be on the cards next year.
"A fight with Eric would sell out," says Allan. "With the two of us putting everything on the line in a title fight, or on TV, it would definitely be big."