‘ I Can’t wait to run through the welterweight division I almost feel sorry for whoever has to fight me’
Richard Kiely BAMMA Welterweight
I was flicking through Twitter at the weekend and i came across the above quote in a BAMMA poster announcing the signing of Irish Welterweight Richard Kiely. I thought to myself that’s a fairly bold fucking statement. Second thought. Let’s see if we can get an Interview with this guy!. Sounds Interesting. Anyway a couple of social media interactions later we were on the phone and chatting away.
Richard Kiely fights out of SBG Ireland and is coached by none other than John Kavanagh. Richard himself coaches out of SBG in Tallaght , Co. Dublin and it is clear that he is immersed in all things MMA and the pro fight game. At the moment he is preparing and looking forward to his first fight on the multi-fight deal with the BAMMA Promotion. That first fight isn’t set in stone as of yet but he’s is fairly confident he’ll be on the BAMMA 30 event card in the 3 arena in July.
Although he only has one professional fight under his belt he announced himself to the paid ranks in some style at BAMMA 27. His knee finish of Keith McCabe was brutal, explosive and devastatingly quick.
One of my first questions to him was what do you see as your strengths or your style and his reply was immediate and certain.
‘ I punch like a guy two weight divisions heavier and i move like guy two weight divisions lighter’
Indeed i watched back the footage of his last fight against McCabe and his footwork is extremely impressive, constantly on his toes and his movement IS lightening quick as a consequence.
While Kiely’s striking and movement are instantly noticeable he considers himself an all-rounder. It is easy to see from his cage presence that he was a former Irish Champion kick boxer and works hugely with John Kavanagh, Graham Henry and Dave Roche on his Jiu-jitsu. He is just beautifully light on his feet and his take-down defence against McCabe looked in rag good order.
In fact when describing this on the phone he somewhat under-statedly described it thus
‘McCabe tried to take me down but i was able to walk through him like he wasn’t there’
‘It was a fairly decent knock-out alright’
For me it was finish of the night. Look it up on Youtube – it took McCabe a serious amount time to get off the canvas. It is amazing to think that Kiely had ruptured ankle ligaments shortly before this fight but as he said himself he had just too much work put into training for the fight – nothing was going to stop him from entering the ring on the night.
This is spoken in a matter of fact fashion and i think with out any disrespect meant at all.
In his previous life Richard worked as an Insurance Operations Manager but i guess he knew that his talent deserved and required a full-time investment of his energies and the 5 fight deal he has negotiated with BAMMA is the first of what he hopes will be many rewards from this commitment to his craft.
Richard is highly complimentary and grateful for the talented group of MMA technicians that he can call team-mates and these include Dylan Tuke, Gunnar Nelson and even Conor Mcgregor. The respect for Head Coach John Kavanagh is immediate and obvious which will come as no surprise to anyone in Irish MMA. In any interview I’ve seen of Kavanagh he is grounded and his confidence is based on solid ground – namely a savage work ethic, honesty and a desire every day to get better. As Richard said to me
‘ John wouldn’t put me in there unless i was ready and I am’
Inevitable the BAMMA contract has drawn some media attention and maybe some of the welterweights in his division are not over the moon about a fighter with 1 professional fight getting it. Richard address this in his simple and uncompromising style
‘ A lot of the Welterweights are moaning. I Don’t care. Most of them move so slowly it’s like a scene from the Matrix ‘
This includes two top ranked guys Terry Brazier and Walter Gahadza who face off at BAMMA 29 next month. He wants the winner of that fight after he fights on the BAMMA 30 card. It is clear that he is gearing up to that welterweight title shot as quickly as is feasibly possible.
Richard is back to full fighting fitness after that ankle injury and is training mode for that expected fight in July. His walking around weight is in the 180-185 region and he likes to keep in easy range of that 170 number. In fact he was very specific in saying that he’s expecting to be at 178 in a couple of weeks.
Outside of his training, life revolves around his partner Jade and their little boy and given his busy twice daily training regime he doesn’t have the time for too many outside distractions. Sunday is recovery day and the SBG ethos place huge emphasis on fight specific training and being conscious of the body’s need to recover.
Other than that his Mum is a huge support and when i asked him do people call him ‘Richard’ or ‘ Richie’ he said only his Mam calls him Richard and laughingly said
‘ Well my Mam ….she’s tougher than any MMA fighter i know’
I don’t know about that but the MMA son is off to a great start as professional!