Renowned Irish dancer Michael Flatley has revealed that he considered becoming a professional boxer before finding international success with "Riverdance".
Flatley, who once competed in the Chicago Golden Gloves boxing tournament, added that boxing played a key role in his development outside the ring, teaching him the value of hard work, determination, and perseverance.
"Good qualities, because there's no one in that ring except you. Your trainer's not there. Your mates aren't in there. Once that bell rings, you're on your own and you have to find out real quick if you worked hard enough or not," Flatley told Newsday.
Flatley said he took up boxing because his father believed that he needed to learn how to defend himself after being bullied in school for his Irish dancing.
He quickly fell in love with the sport and competed in the 1975 Chicago Golden Gloves competition, the longest-running non-national boxing tournament in the United States.
Flatley revealed that he considered turning pro after receiving an offer from "a guy in London" but said he was happy that he followed a career in Irish dancing instead.
"I got a great offer from a guy in London and my father wanted me to box instead of dance. I love boxing. But I’m glad I followed the other road," Flatley said, adding that boxing gave him a great start in life.
Despite his father's desire for him to pursue a career in boxing, Flatley would not regret choosing Irish dancing as a profession.
He would go on to become an international superstar, producing world-renowned shows such as "Riverdance" and "Lord of the Dance".
In total, Flatley's shows played to more than 60 million people in more than 60 countries, grossing more than $1 billion.