‘I’m focused on this one and I’m ready to get the job done.’ Says Conor Goodman ahead of his WBC Muay Thai Victorian State Championship bout this weekend at Rebellion Muay Thai 28.
Goodman is set to face off against Gianpaolo Iacopino in a super-featherweight bout on Saturday May 27th at Melbourne Pavilion. Goodman, who is no stranger to fighting in multiple weight classes, said he feels good fighting at the 59-kilo limit, but isn’t sure if he’ll stay in the class moving forward.
‘We all know what “Conor”s are like with our weight classes, we like to move up and down, but I feel sharp at this weight, I’ve trimmed up a lot, a lot of body fats gone. Feeling good, still eating well. Lots of people complain about starving themselves but I’m well fuelled going into this.’ Goodman said.
Goodman grew up in Ireland and immigrated to Australia 11 years ago after speaking to one of his cousins who was already living in the country.
‘I come from a country family, so we have a farm, so I was always working, giving my father a hand or giving my neighbour a hand…it was one of my older cousins who were out here at the time, I was sort of at that age, 18, 19, and probably a bit naughty and stuff and he was on to me saying I should come out and give it a go here. I came out for a year with the intention of doing one or two…Australia’s been very good to me with work and everything else in my life.’
Goodman had no martial arts experience until he moved to Australia, but was no stranger to playing sports, growing up playing Gaelic football in Ireland. He started Muay Thai at the recommendation of his friends, and quickly realised how much he enjoyed both the sport itself, and the culture around it.
‘I liked the aggression of it, and how respectful it all was. There’s not as much trash talk or stuff like that. People tend to leave their egos out of it.’
When his family heard about Goodman’s pursuit of fighting, they were worried for his health, leading the topic to become a ‘touchy subject’ whenever Goodman speaks with his family.
‘None of them enjoy it bar my dad, but everyone’s got their opinion. Its my life as such so I get to make the calls, but my ma prays for me.’
Goodman was able to show his family what his hard work has been working towards after winning the Roots 8-man tournament in May last year, winning three fights in one night to earn himself the Roots title.
‘It was an experience to say the least. Just getting the first one over was hard; it was a hard clinch battle with John [Ho], but that’s what we had worked on; trying to maintain my body, not taking too much damage or get cut or any bad knocks. We worked on clinching, saving your body in that first fight, won that one, then for the second one against Jesse [Schreger], he was a lot taller, so I had to get in close to him and work him, so eventually got the win there but he did bust my arm up. We got out of the ring on that fight, got backstage and I literally just sat down in the chair and the guy before me in the co main event knocked the guy out…as soon as I sat down the guy’s backstage are like “right, get back up.”.’
Looking back on the tournament, Goodman credits his will and determination for keeping him fighting.
‘I was probably the smallest man on the card that night. There was a lot of big boys on it. I wasn’t probably the bookie’s favourite but I knew I f**king had the heart to go all the way. So I was just like “Take it round by round, don’t over think.”.’
That heart earned Goodman the Roots tournament belt that he took back to Ireland the next day.
‘That night I went out and partied until about three or four o’clock, then got home and had to fly to Ireland because I was best man for my cousins wedding the following Friday in Ireland. So I was lucky I didn’t get cut because the bride would have killed me for being in the wedding photos with stitches, so lucky all the cuts were in my hairline. It was a long, long flight…I took the belt home to show my parents and grandparents. This is the reason why I fight.’
Now a calendar year later, Goodman says both himself, and his fellow fighters at Khaoboy Muay Thai gym have been improving steadily.
‘Just getting better and better in the gym, progressing. Gaining more confidence for myself, also it helps my training partners, we’re all sort of competing now…everyone’s getting better.’
Returning to only having one fight per night has allowed Goodman and his team to best prepare and game plan heading into his fights, something the Irishman says he is bringing into this fight.
‘We come up with a game plan and we drill it for weeks on end, we stick with it, we don’t change or shy away from it. That’s what we’re going in there to do. I know what my job is, clear as day. Go in there, get the job done.’
Rebellion Muay Thai 28 will be held on Saturday the 27th of May in the Melbourne Pavilion, and is available to watch through Fite TV.