Having turned professional in 2016, ‘The Carlow Kid’ Andy Murphy is joining Kilkenny’s ‘Magic’ Myles Price on the BAMMA 28 fight card. The event is slated for Friday 24 February in Belfast’s SSE Arena and is the second collaboration with USA-based fight promotion Bellator in almost as many months.
“Always ready” and looking to get off the ground in the win column, Murphy travels to Belfast to face Belfast’s Stephen ‘The Fury Killer’ Kilifin (3-1) in a preliminary bout to the night’s fighting action.
Murphy made his BAMMA debut at BAMMA 26 in Dublin’s 3 Arena on 10 September last, squaring off against Richie Smullen. Despite looking the stronger fighter in the opening exchanges, a heel hook from Smullen put paid to Murphy’s first professional fight in 1:17 of the first round.
“It was bitter sweet you could say”, says Murphy of his pro debut.
“It was an amazing experience – getting to compete on a great card and also to compete in the 3 Arena. Yet at the same time I was extremely disappointed to lose that fight.
I was humbled by the support though and hope to bring a big following again to Belfast. Would you believe, I actually felt the best I’ve ever felt going in to a fight. Saying that, I’ve come a long way since my amateur debut in O’Loughlin Gaels (Kilkenny) sports hall back in 2010. I’m just really raring to kick on now in my pro career and show people what I’m capable of.”
If the definition of insanity is supposedly doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then The Carlow Kid is certainly taking the saner route to Belfast.
“To take from John Kavanagh it really is win or learn in this game”, offers Murphy.
“I go to places to get tapped and to get hit – all in order to learn and get better.
I train predominantly in Team Ryano Kilkenny with Myles (Price, also on the BAMMA 28 card) and Mick (Brennan) while also commuting to Dublin to train with Team Ryano and test our skill set up there. I’ve also continued to evolve in my striking and footwork.
I really feel well-rounded in all areas heading in to this fight.
Alongside that, Nadura have come in and helped me with my nutrition. Four weeks out from my last fight I was at 78kg and having to cut to 66kg was tough. Currently six weeks out, I’m a healthy 72.5kg and fuelling myself properly every day. I’m already feeling the benefits.”
Along with the balancing act of training and nutrition, Murphy says the biggest addition has been including Dublin and Meath-based sports psychologist Richard Shanahan, something Price has also been doing for some time.
“However”, he says in conversation, “I feel that My biggest and most positive addition I would say is my sport psychologist Richard Shanahan. My training partner Myles introduced me to him and I have to say my self-belief is better than ever. More importantly, I’m seeing the difference already in training and how I implement what I’m visualising every day. He’s been a priceless addition.”
Along Comes BAMMA 28
When Murphy makes the trip to the SSE Arena in Belfast on 24 February, he’ll be stepping into the cage Stephen ‘The Fury Killer’ Kilifin (Fight Academy Ireland).
Again, going to Sherdog, his last two fights, both over four years ago, came with submission wins including an RNC over Marty Kayas at Cage Contenders 13, followed up with a heel hook victory over Luke O’Neill six months later. The combined time of both victories is just over the two minute mark.
But what does Murphy know of Kilifin?
“In fairness I know very little (of Kilifin), bar he is a solid pro, I think 3-1, and has a strong team around him. As do I. I train with some of the best guys in the world. Steel sharpens steel as they say and steel will certainly clash on Feb 24th.”
With next month’s bout marking his second professional fight with Team Ryano, Murphy has no intentions of slowing down in 2017 and has plans to fight as often as possible this calendar year – even with having a hectic work-life diary.
“By doing that I’ve no doubt the wins will come and people will start to take notice. I’m loving the sport, the challenges and the obstacles I face daily.
It’s doubtful that many work harder than me. I have a full-time 40 hours-a-week job, a wife and one year old son. I train twice a day, six times a week. The shortest drive I have to train is one hour. I make lots of sacrifices to do what I do.
Other guys say they work hard but a lot of it is bullshit. They train hard, but they’re not really working hard if you get me? 2017 will be a big year for me and I’m very much enjoying every second so far.”