Conor Keogh: “It’s just going to be f**king madness”
Two of the most notorious Thai boxing gyms in Dublin go head-to-head at the Takeover 9 on June 10th.
Warriors and Lionheart continue to produce phenomenally talented fighters but have rarely faced each other in competition.
Conor Keogh (Warriors) makes his long-awaited return to action in a five-round B-Class Thai 73 kg bout against Razvan Piticas (Lionheart) in what is set to be an entertaining contest.
Keogh has not fought since a unanimous decision loss to John Mitchell (Siam Warriors) at Cage Kings Dublin in March 2016.
In an interview with Fightstore Media he explained that the loss had dinted his confidence but expressed his eagerness to put things right and ‘get back to winning ways’.
The prospect of facing a Lionheart fighter appealed to Keogh.
“That’s the only reason I wanted this fight. It just brings so much attention. He’ll bring a big crowd and I’ll bring a big crowd so it’s just going to be f**king madness when we score on each other.
“They’re all pretty confident out in Lionheart with the likes of, Craig Coakley, Collie Mahon and Mikey Rizzo. They’re all confident so I expect Razvan to be the same. They all come to bang.
“Even when I’m in the gym I love to have a knock. I just love the buzz of it,” he said.
Like his team-mates, Razvan will be expected to stand in the centre of the ring and trade with Keogh which makes this contest such an appealing prospect for fight fans. But, Keogh gave us his own expectations of their fight.
“It’s a five-round fight so I expect him to relax for the first two rounds. After the third-round I can see him coming out to throw bombs. I’m just going to stay at a distance and pick him off.”
In the past, Keogh has struggled with weight-cuts. For this fight, he’s implemented a strict diet and training regime to put himself in the best shape of his career.
“I’ve never trained like this before. I’ve never dieted, I’m out running every night, I’m eating clean and training hard every day of the week. I’m feeling much better now than I would usually for a fight camp.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever cut out all the bad food; chippers, Chinese and the whole lot. I’m down 13 kilos at the minute and I’ve only five or six to go. Two weeks out and I’m still feeling fresh.”
His team-mate, Karl McCallig, a qualified personal trainer, and his coach, Cian Cowley, have worked together to create a strict diet which has been instrumental to his weight-loss.
“I’ve learnt my lesson from Cage Kings the last time. I remember I came in 0.5 kg over and it caused drama so I’ll be on weight this time.”
Since Cowley began his MMA career in SBG Ireland, Keogh believes that it has had a positive effect on the fighter’s in Warriors.
“I think it benefits us as well. He’s going out to SBG and he’s learning lots of new stuff. He’s bringing it all back to us in Warriors and he’s teaching us new drills which has helped us with our stand-up.”
The Warriors fans are known for being vocal when any of their fighters are in action and Keogh spoke of how much he appreciates their support.
“It’s mental! I got tickets and within a week and a half I’d sold 45 tickets. Having the kids, the adults, the beginner’s class and the fighters, it’s all mad support. We’re like a big family and we all go to support each other at every fight.”
Should he defeat Razvan, Keogh has plans to remain active on the Irish scene and put together a run of good results.
“I want to get back into the fight game properly by the end of the year. I won’t be going back up in weight, that was a stupid mistake going up to 90 kilos. I want to stay underneath 80 and get a few more fights under my belt. I want to stay at 72/73 or around that so I’m not killing myself.”