MICHAEL Conlan confirmed the impending birth of his second child is the main reason behind his decision to return to this side of the Atlantic to continue his boxing career under Adam Booth.
Conlan spent the first year of his professional career in Los Angeles, training under Manny Robles at The Rock Gym, but after a two-week trial period, he will now be based in London, working with Booth and training alongside fellow Belfast man, Ryan Burnett as-well-as Andy Lee and Josh Kelly to name a few.
“I’m having a second baby and I feel like I need to be closer to home because I feel it would be hard to me to focus on my career having a newborn and Luisne (first daughter) in the house too,” explained the Belfast man.
“It will be stressful so I felt it would be better to be closer to home and have a helping hand with Shauna (fiancé) and our families there. We have great families and great people there who can help us in times of need so I think this is a good move.”
The 26 year-old built-up a 5-0 record in his first year as a professional and will return to action at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day, but he believes his switch to Booth will see him return to a more technical style that served him so well as an amateur.
The Londoner has a huge reputation in the sport having guided Burnett to unified world bantamweight champion, Andy Lee to a world title and previously guided the careers of David Haye and George Groves.
The opportunity to work with such an esteemed coach made the decision to make the move that much easier and Conlan says he is enjoying life in his new surroundings.
“I think it’s the smartest move for me,” stressed Conlan with an excited and happy tone.
“If I was coming back to the UK, I would be coming back to the best coach and I believe that is Adam Booth.
“I’ve been over here for two weeks now for a bit of a trial period to see if I’m happy and see if we get on. I’m really happy to say I’ve gelled with him personally and technically.
“It’s just about getting me back to doing the basics that have went out the window a bit the last while as I’ve gone to war. I feel it’s the right move at the right time.
“There’s a good atmosphere in the gym and a good bit of craic, something I’ve missed. I will get that humour again because the Americans didn’t have a clue what I was saying, so it’s great to be back where people understand me.”
Conlan will leave behind Robles who he thanked for their time together and says he can take a lot from his year in California, but reiterated the move was necessary given his family is set to grow this year.
“I’ve learnt that Mexican-American style of boxing of ‘let’s go to war’,” he explained.
“It was a great experience and I think I’ve grown as a human being as as adult being alone for the year away from my family without my father and brother around me.
“I feel like I’ve improved, but I feel like I’ve also weakened on some of my better attributes as I haven’t been paying attention to them as much. It was a good learning year for me, a good start to my pro career and an eye-opener as to how the Americans and Mexicans fight.”
There will be no changes to his managerial or promotional set-up, with Top Rank and MTK still promoting and managing respectively.
That means the plan to fight mostly in the Unites States remains, with March 17 his next outing on what promises to be an exciting night for fighter and fans given the new training regime. An opponent will be announced soon with Booth having an input into who his man will face.
“Everything is the same, the only difference is the trainer,” he confirmed.
“I’m happy to say that as it’s all been going well. I’m in a great place and feel as though I have a great team around me.
“I feel like I had a great team in Manny, but I felt this was just something I needed to do to be closer to home.
“Shauna had a brilliant time, she didn’t really want to come back to be honest, but it would have been tough on both of us when the baby came so I think it’s the right move.
“I think everything will stay the same. I’ll still be fighting in America a lot and I’ll still be having my (homecoming) fight in Belfast in the summer.
“I’m still boxing on Paddy’s Day, that’s all on track and I’m looking forward to getting in there and doing some of the things I have been working on with Adam. I’ve only been here two weeks, so there is a lot to work on and to do before we get there, but I’m happy and have settled in.”