Interview Ryan Sheehan – Backstage reaction to Cage Kings victory over Nestor Rodriguez
“You become a champion by fighting one more round. When things are tough, you fight one more round.” – James J. Corbett
Siam Warriors Ryan Sheehan became a world champion last year and at Cage Kings last Saturday night he fought like one to earn victory.
The young fighter embodies a true champion with the composure to weather a storm and an ability to then deliver victory in scintillating fashion when the odds are stacked against him.
In the opening two rounds Rodriguez enjoyed enormous amounts of success from their exchanges. He landed a thumping head kick which Sheehan felt straight away in the opening minutes.
Then in the second he connected with a nasty elbow leaving a laceration on Sheehan’s forehead. It seemed to be one-way traffic.
But Sheehan stood up to the challenge in front of him. He went to work in the third round and ground himself back into contention.
With every exchange he grew in confidence and put Rodriguez on the back-foot. He pushed the pace and hurt the Spaniard in the fourth-round, keeping a high tempo to close out a phenomenal victory in the final round.
Afterwards he was mobbed by supporters, pure pandemonium in Neptune Stadium.
Backstage in quieter surroundings Sheehan spoke to Fightstore Media about his amazing triumph.
“Nestor is a very strong opponent, he hurt me with a lot of shots I’m not going to lie. He caught me with a kick to the head in the first round and I felt it straight away; I was spaced a bit as you’d say. In the second-round then we really began pushing the pace.
“He gave me an elbow in the middle of the forehead so I look like Harry Potter at the moment. I’ll have to get stitches now, that elbow really did do damage. It was a war the whole way through the fight,” he said.
The open wound was evident on the 19 year-old’s forehead, a gruesome reminder from his five rounds with Rodriguez.
It was the first time in 10 A-Class fights that the young Corkonian had suffered ‘a scar or cut as bad’. But he acknowledged that it was a ‘game changer’ as he would be upping his game from now on.
“A real fighter just takes it on the chin and marches forward. These days a lot of fighters are too laid-back and don’t want to go to war. I’ve no problem in doing that. I can rely on my ability to start banging with any fighter.
“I’m so young in this game but I reckon I can call myself the pound-for-pound in Ireland at the minute. I’m 19 years old and I don’t think anyone in the country has achieved what I’ve achieved in such a short period. This is my 26th fight in four years. I’m going to take the claim to be the number one fighter in the country.”
It was a titanic battle from start to finish. Sheehan explained why it took him so long to get a foothold in their encounter.
“Towards the end of the fourth-round I knew I could have brought it back. Every time we started trading I found myself getting stronger. Everyone who supports me knows what I’m like. I’m always laid-back in the first two rounds, I like to size up my opponent. Then in three, four and five I really push the pace,” he said.
Fighting in the cage hadn’t made much of a difference for Sheehan although he said, “The only thing with the cage is you can’t really run. In a ring you can bounce off the ropes but if you go up against the fence in the cage you know you’re going to get punished.”
Next in line for Siam Warriors rising star is a title defence in Scotland.
“I’m defending my ISKA European title in seven weeks. It’s in Scotland on the Power of Scotland show against a guy they call one of the top prospects in England, Steven Ivory. If he wants to take that title off me he’s going to have to knock me out with the way things are going. I don’t see that happening!”