Matthew Macklin exclusive interview: Ready to make it a St. Patrick’s Day to remember
‘Mack the Knife’ talks to IrishCentral ahead of Martinez Clash
So why go from hurling to boxing?
My Dad had always been a boxing fan too, so at the age of 11 I had my first amateur fight. Ironically it was on St. Patrick's Day 18 years to the day that I will fight Martinez at Madison Square Garden. I was hooked on the sport straight away and by the time I got to around 16 I knew I had to make a choice between hurling and boxing, because I was doing both at a decent level and I knew something had to give. In the end the choice was kind of made for me because I got a knee injury which stopped me from hurling for a few months but I was still able to do my boxing training so I kept going with the boxing after that.
You feel you made the right choice, then?
In the back of my mind I always wanted to make a career out of boxing but my parents always instilled into me how important it was to get an education so I went to start a law degree at Coventry University. I was practically a full-time amateur boxer at the same time so it made combining both very difficult. Inevitably my studies started to suffer so after the first year I met with my tutor and she could see how driven I was about my boxing career. She told me that the door would always be open to come back and resume the law degree at any time if I wanted to pursue the boxing on a full time basis. I have no regrets there in terms of my studies but from time to time I do wonder if I'd kept at the hurling instead of the boxing how far I could have gone. I would love to have played for Tipperary at senior level, to play at Semple Stadium on Munster Final day or Croke Park on All Ireland day would have been the ultimate.
Where do you train in New York?
I train at the Trinity Boxing Gym which is on Greenwich Street in the Financial District and I do strength and conditioning training at the Peak Performance gym in Midtown.
Who is your coach?
My trainer is Buddy McGirt. Buddy is a native New Yorker and was a terrific fighter. He won world titles in two weight divisions in the 80's and 90's. He was a very smart, slick fighter and he brings all that experience and knowledge to bear as a trainer.
How has your experience been of New York so far?
Even before I lived here I always loved visiting New York and living here hasn't done anything to change my view of the city. It's just an incredibly diverse place and it's been great to actually have the opportunity to live here. I already had friends and relations living here and I love going out of places like The Bronx, Yonkers and Queens to catch up with them.
All the girls are asking: Are you single or looking for a relationship?
(Laughs) I'm single right now. Being a professional boxer means that I lead a pretty nomadic existence. I've traveled the world with boxing and a lot of the time I’m away in training camp so it's a lifestyle that's not really suited to settling down. It's definitely something I want to do because it can be a lonely life but to succeed in boxing you have to be willing to put your career first above everything else. For example being single meant that uprooting and relocating to New York was not really an issue for me, I know other boxers from back home who wouldn't have been able to do that because of family commitments.
How is the training going for the big fight?
It's gone great, at this point all the hard work is done and it's just a case of tapering down. Then the last week is all about monitoring your weight and fine tuning the strategy. It's a middleweight fight so I can't be any more than 160 pounds for the weigh-in on the day before. I'm pretty much on the weight already so that's not a concern for me.
Run us through a regular day for you at the moment?
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