Interview | Sean McGoldrick’s Welsh Homecoming

Mark Davies

Mark is from Gwent, Wales. He covers the South of Wales boxing scene. He attends ringside events for Ringnews24 and enjoys interviewing upcoming boxers from Wales.

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On 31st March all eyes will be on the capital of Wales. Cardiff’s Principality Stadium will host the biggest boxing event of 2018. Anthony Joshua returns to Wales as he takes on Joseph Parker in a heavyweight clash. There will be a Welsh presence on the night with Joe Cordina, Morgan Jones and Sean McGoldrick all fighting on the undercard of the Joshua – Parker fight. I spoke to Newport’s Sean McGoldrick ahead of his fight on this massive event. What first got you into boxing?

My brother was going to a boxing gym so I followed him. I had a lot of energy as a kid, always running around the place. It was something for my parents to help control my anger, temper and all that side of things. Boxing helped keep me out of trouble and learn some discipline.

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For those who haven’t watched you before, how would you describe you boxing style?
I feel I can do a bit of everything. Sometimes I can be a bit too macho and go for a fight too much but over the years I’ve learned to use my boxing skills. I feel I can punch pretty hard for a bantamweight. I can move a bit on my feet too when I need to. My preferred style is to go forward and shut opponents down. Land nice body shots, work off my jab and move my head on the way in. I can also mix it up too. You had a very successful amateur background winning a gold and bronze at the Commonwealth games. How has the transition from amateur boxing to professional boxing been?

At the end of the day boxing is still boxing. The amateurs are a lot faster. You only have 3 rounds, you can’t afford to lose any rounds at all. With the pros it’s a bit more settled and you are looking for cleaner shots. I think maybe in my first 2 fights I was just adapting and in my last 2 fights I really started finding myself . Started finding the shots. In the first 2 fights I was trying to load up everything a bit too much. It wasn’t as straight forward as I thought. I can’t just go in and hit people with big shots and expect them to roll over. Hitting regular and often is more effective than loading up with one big shot. First 2 fights I learned what needs to be done. The last 2 fights executing what I think will be a winning recipe for me to go far.  Past or present boxers that were an inspiration or influence?

I always remember watching Mike Tyson and my dad would tell me about the fabulous 4. My dad never boxed but was a big boxing fan. When I started boxing the big thing was Joe Calzaghe. Especially in Wales as you can imagine he was everywhere. He was global superstar but in wales he was an even bigger superstar. He had to be inspiration because of what he was doing, you couldn’t help but look up to him, he was half hour down the road. You’re thinking you don’t need a big fancy gym. He set the standard. When there’s one successful boxer from the country , they all follow suit. As soon as Calzaghe reached the top his whole stable followed him. There’s a lot of talent in the St Joseph’s gym in Newport. Is the success at the Calzaghe Newbridge gym something St Joseph’s could look to copy?

Never say never. The Newbridge gym was such a special gym. Didn’t it have 3 world champions at one point? Joe Calzaghe, Enzo Maccarinelli and Gavin Rees. Such a special gym. Sort of unheard of, not just in Wales, probably worldwide. Having that level all in one gym. Everyone in St Joseph’s has got high ambitions. Everyone wants to achieve and everyone wants to get that far. The fight on 31st March is your first time fighting in Wales as a professional?

First time as a professional and first time in a good few years. Last time I think was in 2014 in the Welsh championships. I have a quite a lot of people who have come to support me so it’s nice for them to only have to travel up the road. I’m pleased for them but buzzing for myself. Massive card. Anthony Joshua boxed there last year but before that it was Joe Calzaghe. I remember going to that. It’s going to be a really special occasion that I will remember forever. Really looking forward to it. Training really hard so hopefully I will add my bit to the card. Hopefully people will remember me. Would you like to fight in Wales again soon?

Definitely! I’m a Welsh fighter, we don’t get loads of shows in Wales but that’s definitely the goal. Joe Cordina is fighting for a title now. Me and Joe are big ticket sellers so maybe after this one or next year. No point looking too far ahead but that is the goal, to try and get good shows back down in Wales reasonably regularly. The Welsh fans love their boxing. I don’t see why they don’t take more advantage of it. The fans are so passionate.  How has training been? How long have you been in camp?

Since my last fight I think I had 3 or 4 days off then I was straight back in the gym straight away. I’m just trying to keep myself in shape all year round so I am ready to go whenever they tell me. I think they gave my confirmation 2 to 3 weeks ago but I was already in the gym then anyway. Been training hard. I’ve just been sparring the banatamweight world champion Jamie McDonnell so I can’t get better preparation than that. I have been sparring with Jay Harris the Commonwealth flyweight champion so I had some great sparring, great prep training has gone really well How did you find it with Jamie McDonnell? He is rated by some as the best at that weight.

Jamie is very good at everything. He’s a good mover, good speed and good footwork. Pretty much got the basis for everything and he just perfects all those little things. I was really impressed by him. Great learning for me. I was grateful to him too for sparring with me. We’re gonna do some more too in the future for his upcoming fight. Great for me to get that experience and just test myself against the best and to really try to improve myself. Great fighter and I can see why people call him the best in the division. Looking forward to going up there again and learning some more. I think he gets a good spar as well and that’s why he has asked me back. WBA Bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett is fighting on the same card. Is that someone you are keeping an eye on?

I’m watching as a fan. Ryan Burnett is a brilliant fighter. All them boys at the top level. Hopefully I get there one day. I’ve got a lot to learn before I start thinking about fighting them. I’ve got to keep improving, there’s plenty for me to work on still. Never say never in the future, hopefully I get there. Whoever has the belts then it doesn’t matter whether it’s any of them boys. It could be 2 to 3 years by the time I’m there. It might all be different by the time I’m there. Whoever it is when I’m there I’ll make sure I’m ready for whoever is there. Got a bit of time and learning to go yet and my sole focus is to make sure I keep improving as a fighter and I keep progressing as a fighter and then when the time does come I make sure I’m more than ready to compete at the level. Any news on the opponent?

I was given 2 names but nothing confirmed yet. The 2 names both have winning records. It’s a step up. Coming off 2 good wins against 2 decent opponents. Fairly happy with my last fight and like I said it’s all about improving. How do you approach not knowing who your opponent is till late?

It is quite tricky. That’s the one big difference in the amateurs. Normally you go to a tournament knowing and you know the boys and you’ve seen them on the circuit. By the end of my amateur career I knew nearly everyone in my weight category around the world. The pros is a bit more nerve wracking and anxious, you’re almost going into the unknown. You look them up on Boxrec and you read too much into. It is what it is. I’ve got to stay focused and concentrate on myself. When you’ve got someone to train for you got that sole focus on one person you know what you’re up against and you can watch videos of them. That’s professional boxing and you got to take the rough with the smooth.  You made your pro debut under a year ago. Approaching fight number 5. How many times are you aiming to fight this year?

Hoping MTK (boxer management company) will get me out 1 more time so I will have 6 fights pretty much just over a year. 6 fights in the year was the plan. For next year we will sit down and reassess whether I need a couple more or couple less or increase the rounds. So I’ve got 2 more fights then I will down with MTK and discuss where we go for the following 6-12 months. MTK are very experienced they’ve seen a lot of boxers, they will give me the best advice on what to do. I assume I will probably push up to 8-10 rounds over the course of the year. Have a 6 to start then a 8 and then a 10 maybe. That’s what I’m assuming but until I get these next two fights out of the way then I will discuss that afterward. Are you targeting the traditional route of Welsh, Celtic, UK and Commonwealth titles?

I would love to go the traditional route but if opportunities come up when I’m ready to fight for other titles then I will just have to take those other opportunities. If I was writing the perfect script the traditional route is how I’d like to go, but that doesn’t always happen. One thing I would really to like to win is the Commonwealth, obviously because of the Commonwealth Games and my connection with that. I went to 2 Commonwealth Games and have 2 Commonwealth medals so it would be really good if I could win the Commonwealth title as a professional.

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