Amirkhani “definitely” interested in Permanent Move to SBG Ireland


Makwan Amirkhani has spent weeks in SBG Ireland ahead of his February 27 meeting with Mike Wilkinson and ‘Mr. Finland’ has declared that his time under the tutelage of John Kavanagh has been an unforgettable experience.

Moving from Sweden to Ireland in January, it would be understandable if the featherweight found moving to new a country an unsettling ordeal, but he is adamant that everyone at the Naas Road gym made him feel “really comfortable” right from the off.

“It’s not been hard at all actually,” said Amirkhani. “I like the people and if you hang out with people who are thinking the same way as you, and they’re suffering and sweating alongside you, it makes you feel like you are not alone in this. I’m not the only guy (in SBG) that has this mission, so that made me feel really comfortable, especially when I was talking to John (Kavanagh).”

‘Mr. Finland’ spoke about the enthusiasm of his new teammates and coaches, and how their reaching out to him allowed his time in Dublin to go “perfectly” ahead of his meeting with 9-1 Englishman, Wilkinson.

“I can’t say the friendships are too different because in Allstars there were a lot of good guys. I can’t say that Allstars was bad just because there were a few people that I didn’t like. In SBG, there is nothing negative to speak about at all. Everything has gone so well and I’ve just been enjoying every moment.

“They guys were helping me so much and it was only a few days before people were adding me as friends on Facebook and asking me to come and train with them. The boxing coach (Owen Roddy) was really excited for us to work together. He asked me about what times I was training at on Monday, I told him ‘I’m training at 1 and 8’, so he said, ‘I’ll be up in the gym at six if you want to train.’

“He didn’t care that I already had two training sessions that day,” he laughed. “He was excited to get some work done with me and we trained together right up until I left. That made me feel really welcome because all of these guys were trying to help me.

“The wrestling coach, Sergei, and I were sharing thoughts. He said ‘I miss this kind of wrestling’ because wrestling with someone who has grown up in the sport is different. He enjoyed wrestling with me and I can say exactly the same thing. Coach Sergei is a really good guy and he thought me a lot of things that will be good for me.

“With John everything went perfectly, it was just one of those experiences in my life that I will never forget.”

Amirkhani’s wrestling background made him a popular man on the SBG mats too and the prosperous featherweight spoke fondly of working with Irish fan favourite Paddy ‘The Hooligan” Holohan.

To add to that, he revealed that although some people wanted to feel his power and gauge his technique, he only ever trains at 50 percent so he can feel “superhuman” when it comes time to fight:

“A lot of the guys, like Paddy (Holohan), wanted to train and I love to help in any way I can because I can gain a lot of valuable experience from that too.

“A lot of people wanted to feel the power that I have and the technique, but the way you hear me talking is the way that I like to train,” he told me in a calm manner.

“I like to do my training on a lower level (than competition). It’s easier for me when it comes time to fight. If I’m only giving 50 percent in training, when it comes to a fight and you give 100 percent you feel like a superhuman.”

Amirkhani also insisted that he will be looking to make his move to SBG Ireland a permanent one following UFC London.

“I’m going to train there, but for this fight, I will be going back and forth to Finland. After this fight when hopefully everything goes well, then I will talk to John and I will probably move back to Ireland to train there.”

When asked if a permanent move was on the cards for him

“Yes definitely,” he replied.


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