Michael Conlan has made the decision to stay amateur until after the next Olympics and is looking forward to being a key part of the Ireland team heading to Rio.
Conlan admitted it wasn’t a decision he took easily and said he gave serious thought to turning professional ahead of the Games.
He was at the Titanic Quarter to watch fellow Belfast boxer Carl Frampton win the IBF Super Bantamweight title in September.
Conlan’s brother Jamie also boxes professionally, and was on the card that night in Belfast, and Conlan described the temptation to join him as a professional.
I wanted to turn professional right away, I just wanted to turn over right there,” said Conlan, speaking to BBC Northern Ireland. “The atmosphere and seeing the boys in the limelight and the crowd and the way they cheered our own boxers on.”
However he talked the matter over with his father and is happy that the decision to wait until after Rio is the right one.
“I made the decision based on how I’m performing and what’s gonna be best for my career. I believe going to the next Olympic Games that I’m well capable of a gold medal there.”
He is also looking forward to being a senior member of the Irish team in Rio, having been one of the youngest when he won a bronze medal as a flyweight in London in 2012.
He has since moved to bantamweight and won gold in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in August.
Conlan fighting in the Commonwealth Games
Conlan said: “I see myself now as one of the main men on the team. In Rio, being one of the main lads and having that pressure on me, I’ll thrive on it and perform.”
The 22-year-old is also proud of the strength and performance of the Irish boxers as a group.
“We’re one of the smallest countries in the whole Olympics and are coming away with the most medals at times. Our boxing is fantastic.”
You can see the full interview with Conlan here.