InstantBoxing.com’s Gary Mushrow caught up with light heavyweight top contender Irish Seanie Monaghan yesterday. His fast rise through the rankings at 175 pounds has been astonishing over the past four years and the Top Rank fighter was more than happy to field questions about his career and the big fights ahead. Read more of what he had to say below.
IB.com: First of all, we know it’s only been since June but its seems to us like you’ve been out the ring forever! When are you next fighting?
SM: We took a bit of a break after my last fight. First of all I had some nasty cuts which needed time to heal but the other reason is Top Rank was trying to negotiate a big fight for me, they’ve been in touch with Juergen Braehmer’s people but unfortunately we still haven’t struck a deal with them.
I’m fighting on the Timothy Bradley undercard in Vegas Dec 13th, that will be six months since my last fight. I don’t know who I’m fighting yet but I just didn’t want to go more than 6 months without fighting. I can’t wait around forever for a deal to be struck, I’ve got a family to feed.
IB.com: Your last opponent Elvir Muriqi, you dominated from beginning to end and you went the full ten for the second time in your career – how did you feel the fight went? What was Muriqi like?
SM: I felt great that night. I had my mind made up before the fight that I was gonna make a statement and knock Muriqi out, unfortunately a couple of head butts changed things up a bit. Elvir was a tough customer but I almost had him out of there. The referee told me after the fight that he almost stopped it a few times. It’s a shame my face took so much damage from those head butts because it made the fight appear to be closer than it was; I controlled the whole fight.
IB.com: Was it nice to box on the under card of two world title fights on the same night in NY? You’ve got to be hoping that’s you sometime in the not too distant future?
SM: Absolutely, I’ve been on a lot of big undercards throughout my career. I’ve fought under Shannon Briggs, David Tua, Monte Barrett, Sergio Martinez 3x, Andy Lee 2x, Matthew Macklin, Gennady Golovkin, Mikey Garcia, Nonito Donaire, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Timothy Bradley 2x, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov, Demetrius Andrade, Chris Algieri, Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao. So I’ve seen what a big show looks like, when even the weigh-in is a big deal. I’ve seen the full spectrum from the bottom to the top, so when my time comes to headline a big show myself the experience won’t be new to me.
IB.com: You’ve boxed at some of the greatest venues in the world the MGM Grand, Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden already despite boxing professionally just over four years; did you foresee all this so early in your career or do you have to pinch yourself sometimes?
SM: I haven’t really stopped to think about it but my list of venues is pretty cool, something I’ll be proud to tell my kids about one day. I’ve fought in Madison Square Garden five times as a pro and once in the amateurs, the MGM Grand in Vegas and in the Foxwoods, the Thomas and Mack Center, Radio City Music Hall and the Barclays Center. I started out doing little 4 round club fights in tiny places like BB Kings in NYC which probably only holds three hundred people, little by little I climbed my way up to the bigger venues.
It is pretty surreal when I get out of the ring and get congratulated by guys sitting ringside like Tommy Hearns, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Probably the coolest experience was fighting against a guy in Vegas who had Micky Ward working his corner. I ended the fight with a body shot, Micky’s favorite punch, and afterwards we all hung out in the lobby of the MGM Grand for over an hour! I couldn’t believe I was hanging out with Irish Micky Ward. I was with my father and my uncle and we were on cloud nine. What a great time that was. Almost all of the boxing superstars I’ve met have been really cool, down to earth, regular guys.
IB.com: Although you were born in NY, you’ve obviously in the right place with regards to the fan base Irish linked fighters have – has that been beneficial to you as a pro so far?
SM: Absolutely, I’ve been very fortunate! My following has opened a lot of doors for me. I know a lot of very good fighters who have a hard time even getting a fight. Because I sold tickets and wasn’t signed, I could fight on any and every possible card. Every promoter wanted me on their show. So there were times when I fought twice in a month. I had seventeen fights in three years. That amount of activity and basically living in the gym was the reason I improved as fast as I did. Sitting around is the worst thing for a fighter.
IB.com: You picked up the WBC Continentals Americas title during 2012 and have defended it four times now; was there any reason you chose the WBC minor belt particularly as oppose to a minor belt with another organisation? Or was it strictly a promoter decision?
SM: In all honesty that was the belt that came up and I jumped on the opportunity. The promoter of that show called and said we were gonna be fighting for that belt and I said great. There are so many belts out there now, diamond, silver, continental and inter-continental beltsetc – I just look at them as trophies, I’ll consider myself a real Champion when I beat a real World champion and take his belt.
IB.com: You’re 33 now, do you feel the need to progress quickly in the sport to try and reach the top or is age but a number?
SM: As they say age ain’t nothin’ but a number, I feel young and fresh, I’m a very healthy well preserved 33. I’ve only been boxing ten years so I don’t have a lot of the wear and tear on my body that guys with hundreds of amateur fights may have.
IB.com: The guys at the top of your division read Stevenson, Hopkins and Kovalev. Do you see those names as a daunting prospect or would you take aim at any one of them soon? Which one would you most like to face?
SM: This is shaping up to be a great time for the light heavyweight division, after all, real world championship boxing is supposed to be about the best fighting the best in risky dangerous competitive match ups. Hopefully no politics will interfere with any of these guys fighting each other. I commend Hopkins for taking and actually seeking out the fight with Kovalev, who I feel is the most dangerous guy in the division.
As for me I’m patiently waiting for my turn to throw my hat in the ring and make a name for myself amongst the elite fighters of today. I’ve got a healthy respect for what each guy brings to the ring but as far as daunting, no. I know what I’m capable of and I’m waiting for my chance to show and prove it to the world. As for which one in particular I’d like to face it really doesn’t matter. I’m in the gym training every day hoping to get that big phone call, and whoever, whenever and wherever it is I’ll be ready.
IB.com: We haven’t heard a lot about your training recently. Who trains you and where do you train at? Run us through a little about your weekly regime?
SM: I’m still in the same place I always was, the Freeport PAL in NY training under Coach Joe Higgins. I’ve trained casually all summer but now that I have a date for December we’re back to the three a day workouts, six days a week. Sundays I lay on the couch and recover.
I do a morning track workout, an afternoon boxing gym workout and strength work in the evening. It can be a little overwhelming but you’ve gotta just take it one day at a time, and also take your rest and recovery very seriously. I’ve incorporated a new pretty hardcore stretching routine that I do every night, so I’m technically doing four workouts a day now!
IB.com: 2014 is slowly drawing to a conclusion and you’ve fought three times, was that the objective going into the year?
SM: We were looking for a big name fight this year but unfortunately nothing came together. Guys at the top level only fight once or twice a year and I’m not getting paid the big bucks yet so I have to stay busy to pay my bills. I literally can’t afford to wait around for a big name fight.
IB.com: In the next 12 months what are you looking to achieve in the sport? Are some exciting times ahead for the fans of Irish Seanie Monaghan?
SM: Well I’ve climbed from number 1300 to number four in the world so these next few fights are gonna be very serious and exciting. I’m close to putting myself in the number one spot and then I’ll be a mandatory fight for one of the Champions. I’d say two orthree more fights and I’ll be the number one contender, I’m the number four right now in both the WBA and the IBF.
IB.com: Do you have anything to say to your fans who will be reading this?
SM: I’d like to really thank everyone who’s supported me throughout my career so far, without you I wouldn’t be here. There will be a whole new level of excitement when I step up and fight world class opponents! Follow me on Facebook at Irish Seanie Monaghan. On Twitter @SeanieMono and on Instagram at @SeanieroxxLB