Ahead of his first bout in 'Charity Lords of the Ring' television presenter Rob Ross talks to RTÉ.ie's Linda McGee about working with his childhood hero Barry McGuigan and his hopes for victory in the ring!
Linda McGee: Tell us about bootcamp for the show. Has the training been really hard?
Rob Ross: I didn't find training all that hard because I came from a quite fit... running start, to use a pun badly! I suppose I was someone who's always kept myself fit. I've always looked after myself. A lot of fellas are finding it very tough alright.
LM: Because they've never been in a gym before?!
RR: Well yeah, I think so! A lot of people are losing a lot of weight. I've lost a lot of weight as well though, which was very unexpected, because I was trying to put on weight. I didn't feel I had any fat on me so I just tried to put on muscle but I actually lost loads of weight on the diet I was on, so that didn't work out at all. I actually went down to 10st 12lbs. That was very light because I've always tried to keep weight on rather than lose it.
LM: Do ye all train together or is there a big sense of rivalry in the camp?
RR: I think there's very little rivalry really. It's not a great situation you find yourself in because you're training with them and you become good friends with these people and then you've got to face off in a ring. I know when we get in the ring it's going to be friendship out the window for a few minutes and just try and do as well as you can.
LM: Do you want to win?
RR: I'd love to. I'd love to win it, yeah I would. I would love to win, there's no doubt about it.
LM: Do you think you can win?
RR: I would say I have potential, yeah. A lot of them have picked up injuries and I haven't really gotten many punches in training… I nearly would prefer if I'd gotten a few more. I'd know better what I was going in for... In a civilised society you're not used to get a clip every so often.
LM: Tell us about your chosen charity – it's CARI (Children At Risk in Ireland), right?
RR: Yeah, my charity is CARI... It was very hard to choose a charity actually. So many people need money. It's brilliant that I'm doing it for CARI and it's brilliant I can make money for people and hopefully I'll make a decent amount... it pushes you on as well. Even, let's say I did want to quit or I wanted to drop out, now you have people relying on you as well. As it progresses it does become more about your charity because you want to do as well as you can for them.
LM: Who is the one to beat? Is there anyone that has impressed or scared you in training?!
RR: Everyone has their different attributes, like Jack Sheedy is a big man. Maclean Burke and John McGuire are big men and they can box. There's guys there that are like 16st and if I'm weighing in at 10st 12lbs there's going to be a massive difference there. I'll just have to try to keep out of their way! I'm not someone who has that much of a knowledge of boxing because I have never done it previously... I wouldn't have enough of a technical eye to spot the ones who are going to do well. I'd say I have as much chance as anybody else really.
LM: Would you have watched boxing on TV before this?
RR: Well, I'd watch the bigger fights. Of course I'd watch Bernard Dunne. His last fight was probably the best thing I'd ever seen. I thought his heart was unbelievable and he was phenomenal that night.
LM: What is it like to work with Barry McGuigan? You must have grown up watching all his fights, did you?
RR: The first night that we met Barry McGuigan I just went up to him and I said: 'I just have to say to you, this is a dream come true to be mentored by or to even be working with you' because as a child I remember getting woken up in the middle of the night to watch Barry McGuigan fights. It was just unbelievable. It was something that always bonded a family in Ireland as well. So yeah, it's an unbelievable opportunity to get to work with Barry – and Tim Witherspoon is there as well and he's twice Heavy-Weight Champion of the World and he's fought Muhammad Ali and I must saying Oisín Fagan as well is a legend in the making – he's a young Irish boxer coming through - and Jim Rock, working with the Pink Panther as well. It's great to work with all these guys. One of my problems actually, when we're doing training, is that I can't stop laughing because even when we're sparring and they're swinging at you, you're like 'Ha, this is great' but I'd say when I get into the ring that'll all change.