SBG Tallaght set to open this summer


Around the turn of the millennium, and much to his parents’ dismay at the time, John Kavanagh abandoned his plans for a career in mechanical engineering to pursue a life of “rolling around with sweaty men”. As it turns out, “rolling around with sweaty men” meant becoming a world renowned MMA trainer and the founder of then most successful combat training facility in the country, Straight Blast Gym (SBG).

Recently, a number of Kavanagh’s fighters have sky rocketed to stardom – Conor McGregor in particular. As a result, there is often a perception that John Kavanagh is an “overnight success”, but he doesn’t see it that way.

“It’s taken me almost twenty years to become an overnight success”.

Kavanagh’s first gym consisted of a rented one-car garage with a dodgy roof and a few mats on the floor. Now, SBG on the Naas Road is an impressive state-of-the-art training centre. Kavanagh, though, hasn’t lost sight of where it all began.

“Those days are not forgotten” Kavanagh said. “We enjoy what we have now, but don’t get complacent, don’t get lazy, and we’re always looking to improve ourselves and get ready for the next goal”.

That next goal, it was announced on Tuesday, is to open a second SBG location in the heart of Tallaght. The finer details are yet to be ironed out it seems, but the launch looks set to take place in May or June of 2015.

“We’re aiming for early summer. I haven’t created it yet, but there will be an SBG Tallaght Facebook page”.

And who better to act as the front man for the new gym than Tallaght native Paddy “The Hooligan” Holohan. Having made his professional MMA debut in 2007, Holohan took the hard road to the top. Now a legitimate UFC flyweight prospect, Holohan has hopes to help pave an easier path for the next generation of Irish MMA hopefuls.

“This is an opportunity for young kids”, Holohan said. “This is your chance, so don’t ever say you never got one. And that’s going to be huge. Kids here just want an opportunity. There are some who’ll throw it straight back in your face, but we’ll be giving them that chance to go the right way in life.”

“You wanna find out how to do this, and how to have a better life, it doesn’t have to be in the UFC, it could be anything. Turn up at Tallaght SBG with no ego… and we’ll show you the way”.

With the enormous SBG facility on the Naas Road open little over a year, it is truly astonishing that there is already room for expansion. Ever humble, Kavanagh would have us believe that this is due to “the rise of the sport in general”, but with half of Ireland’s UFC athletes representing SBG, one suspects there may be a little more to it than that.

You can listen to the full interview and announcement from the Tiger Beer ‘Uncage’ event in Dublin yesterday evening below:

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