I’m Dylan McDonagh from Jobstown and growing up there I used to look up to local lads like Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne for inspiration.
Our area has produced so many successful sportspeople.
I think the reason for that is because we’re a different breed, toughness is built into you from when you’re a kid.
Tallaght’s a great place with great people. Everybody knows everyone. I’m proud to be from here.
When I was a young lad I wanted to be a footballer, I played for Shamrock Rovers up to the age of 21 until I was let go then I went to Kildare County.
After that I took up Thai Boxing in Bridgestone in town and I fought for them for a few years.
When I started there they thought I had potential, they told me I had good hands, even though I’d never done it before.
Thai Boxing taught me a lot, I even spent 6 weeks in Thailand where I learned so much.
Following this I decided to give boxing a go and joined up with Westside Boxing Club in Brookfield with Frank Stacey.
It all seemed to come natural for me and I absolutely loved it.
Straight away I thought “this is what I want to do.” I got great encouragement from the lads in Westside, they could’t believe how good my hands were considering I’d only started.
I won some things with Frank; Dublin, Leinster, and All-Ireland Novices before taking a step back from boxing for a couple of years.
While I was boxing I also went to SBG and I was training with them as well at the same time. I couldn’t balance the two so I went back to boxing.
This year, at the age of 31, I turned pro, something I think I should have done years ago.
I’d be looking at people turning pro and think ‘I could beat them.’
Boxing as a professional does involve huge sacrifices. I have another job as well.
On my off days I’ll train in the gym two or three times a day, if I’m working once a day. This is what I want and I am confident it will all pay off in the end.
I was supposed to have my first pro fight in April but it was cancelled, which was frustrating at the time.
I finally got to make my pro debut this month, something I’ll never forget.
It was a lot of pressure with the last show being cancelled, and I was delighted to get my pro career off the ground with a win on the night.
Winning that fight felt like winning the Lotto, it was an amazing feeling, it meant the world to me and it’s a feeling I want to experience many more times.
My next fight will be on 2nd December in the National Stadium and I can’t wait. I want to make an impression, put on a great show and get my record up.
My target for the next year is to win an Irish or Celtic title and see where I can go from there.
I would say to anyone, never give up on your dreams. 100% don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do it.
If you work hard you can achieve anything you want. If there’s something you really want then go after it with everything you have.
I believe in the power of having a positive attitude.
I’m getting married next June to my fiancé Sinead. She is my motivation and inspiration. She’s always by my side and before a fight she feels the pressure with me, sometimes even more intensely than me!
I think boxing is a great sport for young people to take up.
It gets a bad rep and people that don’t know anything about it think it’s all blood and guts but you can join a club and do the training and never get in a ring if you don’t want to.
Boxing training is amazing for creating self belief, giving confidence, getting rid of stress and of course maintaining fitness.
I was only a late starter to the sport myself and I wish I’d taken it up when I was younger.
I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead.