NEWPORT boxing hero Sean McGoldrick is certain that he can handle the pressure as he aims to win gold again at the Commonwealth Games.
The St Joseph’s amateur star won gold at Delhi 2010 as an 18-year-old after his final opponent, Sri Lankan Manju Wanniarachchi, failed a drugs test.
And he’s determined to do everything he can to defend his 56kg title in Glasgow next month.
“It’s getting pretty close now so it’s all about staying focused and getting the job done,” said the 22-year-old.
“This time I’m the defending champion so there is a bit more media interest in me but that won’t affect my concentration.
“In Delhi I was the big underdog but this time I should be one of the favourites. I will be up against the world number two and three in my weight but I’m not worried about anyone else.
“I’m focusing on what I can do and I’ll be giving 200 per cent to come away with the gold medal again.”
Wales national boxing coach Colin Jones, who himself went to the 1976 Olympics as a 17-year-old, believes McGoldrick can create a bit of Commonwealth Games history.
“I don’t think it’s ever been done in boxing before and it’s always a big ask to go back and repeat performances because four years has gone by,” he said.
“Most certainly he can do it but there is going to be added pressure for Sean as a defending champion.
“It’s well within his reach though. As long as he continues to work hard, focus and not get affected by all the media and the hype then there’s a great chance of him being the first.”
McGoldrick knows he still has a lot to learn as he targets a place at the Rio 2016 Olympics but he’s prepared to put in the work.
“There is extra pressure there but I don’t really feel that. I try to take it in my stride,” he said. “I’m still young and I’m still learning and anything can happen.
“It’s hard work but I’ll be preparing just as well as anyone and if the draw is kind to me and luck is on my side hopefully I’ll win the gold again.
“Delhi changed my life a lot and it changed me for the better – I’m on the Podium Programme for Rio now and it was a great experience,” he added.
“It was only a few days ago that I watched myself in Delhi and realised how young I looked and sounded when I was interviewed.
“I don’t feel like I’ve matured but I obviously have and I like to think I’ve got better technically so hopefully it all pays dividends.”