20-year-old Irish boxer Tiernan Bradley has been handed a dream opportunity to serve as a sparring partner for Conor McGregor ahead of his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather next month and he’s already impressed by what he’s seen from the UFC lightweight champion in the ring.
Bradley was a 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games semi-finalist and 2017 Irish Elite semi-finalist, and was recommended to McGregor by a former sparring partner, Conor Wallace, as someone who could replicate Mayweather’s style.
“People laugh when they hear me saying I can replicate Mayweather,” Bradley told MMA Fighting. “I guess nobody can move like Floyd, but I’ve been studying everything about the guy for the last 13 years.
“I know what way he moves and I know how he moves into his punches. I know how he reacts to getting hit. I feel like I’m able to bring that in to help Conor as he prepares for this fight.
“When I’m competing, I don’t necessarily use Mayweather’s style, but I definitely use some of his tools. The step-back right hand and check left hook are two techniques I use a lot. And of course, I use some of his defensive tactics to stop me getting hit.”
Having sparred with McGregor this week, Bradley has already been impressed by what he brings to the table, and in particular noted how his background in mixed martial arts meant that the Irish superstar operates in ways that Mayweather is unlikely to have seen before.
“Conor is a very good boxer,” Bradley said. “He doesn’t move like any other boxer. He’s powerful, fast and light on his feet … He’s very good at getting in and out and connecting. He’s so quick on his feet it’s very hard to judge the distance with him.
“He’s so fast and unpredictable — that’s a very dangerous combination. I don’t think Mayweather has ever boxed anyone like that.”
“It’s very different to any style I’ve seen over the years. He has this strange style and he can keep going at a serious pace for 12 rounds. He’s on his toes and he’s constantly keeping you guessing.
“My biggest takeaway from the rounds was the pace that we fought at and that he seemed unbreakable. I found it very hard to figure him out.”
Bradley also got a taste of McGregor’s much talked-about punching power, and it left him in no doubt that he’s going to be just as much of a threat in the ring as he is in the cage.
“I don’t know if you’ve seen the photo that he uploaded onto his Instagram after our session. People are talking about his left hand and whether the power will be there with 10-ounce gloves — he lifted me off my feet with a right uppercut in 16 (ounce gloves)!
“That shot came out of nowhere. It was so fast and powerful. I can tell you now that those kinds of shots would drop boxers, and that was his right hand. He will definitely keep his stopping power with 10-ounce gloves on.”