Up Close And Personal With Antonio Counihan, Ahead Of His Pro Debut
Photos and Interview by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
For this edition of Up Close and Personal I recently caught up with former amateur star Antonio Counihan, ahead of his highly anticipated professional debut, on the Dave Murphy, Acourtier Events, promoted NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS mega event at York Hall on Friday 4th October.
During his stellar amateur career young Antonio fought eighty competitive bouts, fifteen of which were Team GB Internationals, accruing numerous national accolades along the way, including winning the Junior ABAs, The Great Britain Championships and the Haringey Box Cup, as well as the ultimate honour of having the Captaincy of the England National Amateur Boxing Squad bestowed upon him.
With such an outstanding amateur pedigree behind him, it should come as no surprise that Antonio is being hailed as a future Champion.
OK, scene setting done, now let’s get onto the interview.
Name: Antonio Counihan
Division : Lightweight
Born: Birmingham, England
Age : 22
Rio: Do you come from a family boxing background?
Antonio: I’m from a boxing background, my dad boxed amateur, all my uncles boxed amateur, my brother boxed and my mum bought me a boxing glove cake for my first birthday, so boxing’s in my blood.
Rio: When did you first become interested in boxing and why?
Antonio: As far as I can remember I’ve been interested in boxing, I remember my dad and family all coming round our house to watch big fights!
I use to have gloves when I was a kid and spar my dad and brother!
Rio: Why did you decide to turn pro?
Antonio: I won the Junior ABAs and the British title, I was England captain and part of team GB boxing but just missed out on going to a Olympic qualifier.
I just beat the world champion and the GB lad who went to the qualifier.
I had 80 amateur bouts, so me and my dad decided it was time to turn pro.
Rio: Who are the main ‘Team Counihan’ members?
Antonio: My dad is head coach, my brother Louie Counihan is my strength and conditioning coach, Neil Hateley is my fitness coach and Jon Pegg is part of the gym.
Where do you train and what is your training schedule?
I train at my dad’s gym Eastside boxing club in Birmingham.
I train six days a week, twice a day. We do fitness training Tuesdays and Thursday, spar and pads Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I run five times a week and also do technical sessions.
Rio: What would you say your favourite part of training is?
Antonio: I pretty much like all parts if training, there’s a good buzz in our gym at the moment so it makes it more enjoyable.
Rio: Who have you been sparring for your up and coming fight?
Antonio: I’ve had great sparring for my fight I’ve been sparring Curtis Woodhouse, as he’s part of our gym, for his Commonwealth title fight against Derry Mathews.
I’ve also been sparring Ryan Walsh for his British & Commonwealth title fight, against Lee Selby, also gym members like Marcus Ffrench and Carl Wiggings.
Rio: How would you describe your fighting style? :
Antonio: I’m a long-range boxer first, but can fight inside if needed.
Rio: Which has been your favourite fight to date and why?
Antonio: I’d say when I boxed Ray Moylett from Ireland.
He was world champion at the time, it was England versus Ireland in Dublin and he was captain of Ireland team!
It was good to beat him, never mind in his own back yard.
Rio: Who is your all time favourite boxer and why?
Antonio: My favourite all time boxer is Oscar de la Hoya, I’ve watched him since I was a kid.
To be ten times world champ, in six weight divisions is special.
Rio: Keeping in the same vein, all time favourite fight you have watched?
Antonio: Fav fight is probably the Gatti-Ward fights, I watch them on YouTube a lot, it gives me a buzz every time I watch them.
Rio: Which current match-up would you like to see happen this season?
Antonio: There are loads of good fights happening this year but I still would like to see Mayweather versus PacMan.
Rio: What’s your fight day routine?
Antonio: I like to just relax all day!
But I always make sure I have an hour sleep a few hours before my fight, It’s tradition.
Rio: What is your entrance track?
Antonio: I don’t have a specific one, but just something that gets me up for it.
Rio: What are your ambitions as a boxer?
Antonio: Ambition is to go to all the way to the top and be world champ.
Rio: Outside boxing, what is your favourite sport?
Antonio: I am a big Birmingham City footie fan.
I was a season ticket holder for four years, I love going the away games when I get the chance as well.
Rio: How do you relax outside boxing?
Antonio: I relax by going out for food, cinemas and just chilling out really.
Rio: Favourite book?
Antonio: I only read the Boxing News.
Rio: Favourite music?
Antonio: My favourite music is House music and a bit of garage, that’s all that’s on my iPod.
Rio: Favourite film or TV show?
Antonio: Fav film has got to be the classic Scarface! My mum and dad got my name from that film “Antonio Montana”
Rio: Twitter and Facebook?
Antonio: Twitter: @counihan91 and Facebook: Antonio Counihan.
Rio: Finally is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Antonio: I’d just say follow my journey to the top, I’m dealing with world rated boxers with ease day in day out in the gym, so I know that’s where I’m going.
Antonio Counihan, against a yet to be named opponent, will feature on the Dave Murphy, Acourtier Events promoted ‘NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS’ event, which takes place at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on Friday, 4th October 2013