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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Run, work, train, sleep – but Barrow boxer Liam’s world of sacrifice is getting results

BOXER Liam Conroy has been training harder than ever in preparation for the biggest endurance test of his career so far – his first six-round professional bout. He tells MATT DAVIES about his strict diet and punishing schedule

UP at 5.30am every working day for a run, followed by a full day’s shift in the shipyard, then a tough gym workout and home to bed.

Repeat this five days a week for the best part of two months. Eat mountains of porridge. Drink litre after litre of water. Lunch is chicken pasta. Tea is chicken or fish with veg or salad. Every day. No alcohol. No takeaways. No fast food.

Just dedication, discipline and sacrifice – the bywords for success in the no-pain, no-gain world of Liam Conroy.

The Barrow Amateur Boxing Club fighter has scaled down this rigorous regime this week, in preparation for his third professional contest tomorrow.

Since taking the pro ticket in the spring, the 20-year-old middleweight has two wins from two bouts, and he aims to make it three from three when he takes on Gilson De Jesus in Coldwell Boxing’s Battle of Manchester show.

His performances have earned him a lot of ringside praise, and a growing army of travelling fans, with well over 100 set to make the trip to Bowlers Exhibition Centre tomorrow.

Conroy has had to deal with the disruption of a late change in opponent, with De Jesus replacing Tony Randell, who pulled out of the contest after stepping in at short notice to fight on the Freddie Flintoff show undercard and getting knocked out.

It will also be Conroy’s first six-round pro bout, following convincing four-round disposals of Danny Brown and Dan Blackwell.

This means Conroy’s training schedule has been even tougher than usual, but it also means he will travel down the M6 fully prepared.

Not that hard graft has ever been an issue for Conroy. Even when he is supposed to take a week off after a fight, he can’t resist doing a bit – going for a light jog or heading down to Brook Street gym to help with a kids’ session.

He is totally dedicated to his fitness routine. Pounding the pavements every morning when most people are still in bed, the five-mile route from his Storey Square home is completed in a pretty rapid 32/33 minutes.

“It’s the same route all the time, quite a hilly one,” said Conroy.

“I head down Rawlinson Street, on to Greengate Street. From there I go over Bridgegate and on to Lesh Lane.

“Then it’s up the hill to the Strawberry, and up Hawcoat Lane, before heading down Ormsgill Lane hill, which is a bit of a breather.

“From there it’s back down Schneider Road, and onto Holker Street and Rawlinson Street and home.”

That would be enough exercise for one day for most, but if Conroy is to prosper in one of the toughest sports in the world, he has to go the extra yard. His daily shift at BAE Systems is followed by evenings spent on the bags or in the ring at Brook Street under the guidance of club coach Jeff Moses, and weekly 140-mile round trips to Preston for sparring sessions.

“I shove some porridge in, then grab my bag, get in my car, meet Jeff and go to Preston,” he said of the Wednesday night ritual.

By Friday he says, he’s usually pretty tired, but the work doesn’t stop there. Swimming sessions at DW Fitness with fellow Barrow ABC fighter Ross Cooksey add a bit of variety, plus, says Conroy: “It stretches all muscles out and loosens me up because normally I’m getting stiff by the end of the week.”

Then it’s Saturday – but it’s still not time to put his feet up.

“When the fight is six weeks away I will do a longer run, maybe 10 miles over to Stank and back,” said Conroy.

“But when the fight gets closer it will be the gym, 10 rounds on bags, and shadow boxing exercises.”

It’s not until Saturday evening when Conroy finally clocks off until Monday morning.

“I chill out and go to bed later, a bit more like a normal person!,” he jokes.

The only problem he faces during his down-time is self-control when it comes to food.

“My girlfriend (Melissa Hickey) can eat whatever she likes but to be fair she eats quite healthily,” he says.

“She won’t get takeaways if I’m not, so I feel dead tight sometimes!

“But every now and then she’ll want something like fast food. The other weekend I had to sit in the car with her while she went to McDonald’s drive-thru – that was a killer!

“I just chill out and try not to eat loads, because I tend to want to end up eating loads of food when I have a day off!”

There is one weekly treat to look forward, a steak for his Sunday tea, always served with vegetables or salad of course, never with chips.

Conroy will have the rare luxury of putting his strict diet and fitness routine on hold this weekend, when hopefully he will be celebrating another victory.

“I will be eating whatever I want this Saturday – big-time!” he stressed.

* Keep up to date with the Conroy v De Jesus fight by following @mattdaviesNWEM on Twitter.

* Don’t miss report, reaction and pictures in Monday’s Mail.

Have your say

Doff my cap to you lad, go make us all proud of you and keep on grafting hard and you never know where you might end up.
In several years time you can relax look back and enjoy everything in life, Don't rest now, go for gold Son, Soar with the eagles while the rest of us fly with the turkeys.

Posted by Baz Eye on 7 December 2012 at 22:04

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