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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Barrow boxer Conroy: I will come back stronger from defeat

A BITTERLY disappointed Liam Conroy apologised to his fans and vowed to come back stronger after suffering the first defeat of his pro career.

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IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE: Liam Conroy trying to get on top against Gilson De Jesus REF: 50042161B000

The Barrow ABC youngster lost a punishing six-round super-middleweight contest 58-57 on points against Gilson De Jesus at Bowlers Exhibition Centre on Friday night.

Conroy went into the Battle of Manchester show unbeaten in his first two bouts and confident of making it three from three against his Angolan-born opponent. But despite being on the front foot for the majority of a gripping encounter, Conroy didn’t do enough to convince referee Phil Edwards and lost out by a by a solitary point.

“I’m disappointed because I’ve always dreamed of having an unbeaten record and going on to win titles,” the 20-year-old, known as ‘The Terminator’, said afterwards.

“But it’s gone now and there’s nothing I can do about it. I guess I’ve learned a lot in my early fights. I’ve done a six-rounder in my third fight and I’ve fought three good lads so far and I’ve got beat in my third fight by one point.

“That’s the way it goes and the main thing now is that I come back and come back strong.

“I just hope that everyone will still follow me and that I haven’t let anyone down.

“I’ll definitely come back and get a win next time. I’ll put 100 per cent into my training like I always do. Me and Jeff (Moses, the Barrow ABC chief coach) will watch the video and there will be plenty to work on I’m guessing.”

Conroy found De Jesus’s slippery, counter-attacking style difficult to deal with, and his frustration at the amount of times the Nottingham-based fighter resorted to holding, was clear for all to see, when he twice pushed his opponent across the ring.

De Jesus was certainly a better equipped boxer than his pre-fight record of one win in five suggested, and he nearly landed a decisive knockout blow at the end of the fifth when two mighty right-handers left Conroy reeling and saved by the bell.

For the most part it was Conroy who did the pressing and he seemed to be control of affairs, despite finding it hard to dominate against De Jesus’s awkward technique. The Angolan carried his arms down, weaved and dodged away, and tried his luck with some big right hooks.

“The fight was a bit stressful,” admitted Conroy. “It was doing my head in the way he was moving and holding all the time.

“And because I was determined to win I was trying to chop him down and he was frustrating me, and then you end up leaving openings because you are getting too open.

“This is a learning curve for me and hopefully next time I will be back to my normal self. I need to learn that when they are holding, not to waste all my energy trying to fling them about.

“There will be things I can do to stop opponents being able to do that, and Jeff will pick up on that when we watch the video. I’m going to chill out now for a few days and then get back into my training.”

“I want to thank everyone for coming down and supporting me and I hope haven’t let anyone down,” added Conroy – but there is no need for him to worry about that. The feeling amongst Conroy’s 120 or so travelling supporters, and those who had stayed at home and watched the show live on Coldwell Boxing TV, was one of disappointment and disbelief. The “one Liam Conroy” chants could still be heard long after he had left the arena and there were nothing but words of consolation and encouragement that he will return a better fighter in the new year.

Coach Jeff Moses said there is no reason to question the decision to move up from four three-minute round bouts to six-threes at this early stage.

Although he lost the bout, stamina was not an issue, with Conroy still having plenty in the tank in the closing stages, and Moses stressed afterwards: “There’s no point going back to four rounds. That would be a backward step after showing he can last six rounds.

“These things happen in boxing and he has learned a lot tonight that will benefit him in the future.

“The main thing is that we learn from this defeat and come back stronger – and we will.”

The Terminator is thinking of getting T-shirts made with the words: “I’ll be back” printed on them. He is already looking ahead to his next fight and is determined to get his promising career back on track in 2013.

l There was better news for the Barrow ABC stable on Saturday night when youngster Ethan Greer won his third consecutive fight, the 12-year-old known as ‘speedy’ taking a majority verdict from a bout in Leigh.

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