SBG Ireland prospect Danni Neilan eyes continued amateur rise in 2018

Ireland’s Danni Neilan sprang onto the amateur scene in 2017, securing 5 straight victories after an initial loss and has her sights set firmly on an upward trek of the Irish amateur ranks in the upcoming year.

Roscommon’s Neilan (5-3-0) fights out of Straight Blast Gym Ireland and is one of coach John Kavanagh’s most exciting protégés. Despite ending the year with a disappointing decision defeat, Neilan’s run of five wins from seven saw her win Severe MMA’s Irish Female Fighter Of The Year award.

Speaking in a recent interview with Severe MMA, Neilan spoke about her 2017 and how she envisions 2018 playing out.

“2017 was definitely a crazy year. I had seven fights in 12 months, which was invaluable experience. The year ended in November at the IMMAF World Championships in Bahrain. I was confident going over that I had a serious shot at winning gold. I found myself in the final after 3 tough fights and unfortunately had to settle for a silver.”

“Looking back now I am still happy with that achievement and the loss in the final is definitely gonna stand to me going forward. My plans for 2018 so far have been to continue to work hard and develop at the amateur ranks at the moment and take each month as it comes.”

“I had two losses in 2017. The first was early in the year in a three round war and the second was in the final of the World Championships. Both hurt like hell and I still remember that feeling but I guess its a part of the game. I am definitely getting better at using it as fuel in my future training sessions. I took three days off after the Worlds and then put the head back down to work on the errors that cost me the loss in the final over the Christmas period.”

“The last 12 months I have been training out of SBG HQ and my boyfriend’s gym Relentless Muay Thai – K1. John Kavanagh is my head coach and co-ordinates my MMA sessions and spars. Alan McCormack my partner looks after my striking, Sergey Pikulskiy my wrestling and Tyrone Quinn my Jiu Jitsu. I am extremely grateful for all the help I have got from this strong team of coaches and training partners. I don’t think anything is un-achievable with these guys behind me”.

The 27 year-old established herself as a dangerous striker before her appearance at IMMAF World Championships, stopping both Megan Morris and then Beckie Ainscough in the second round of their meetings respectively.

With an eye set on a drop to flyweight, Neilan is also keen on a quick return to action and is planning an eventual bow on the professional circuit.

“I have my name down for lots of shows at the moment but have not yet been matched. I plan on moving down to 52kg for my next fight and I am willing to take whoever is willing to jump in so I can get to clock up some experience at this weight.

“I will definitely be turning pro in 2018. That’s one thing for certain, however I would really like to use the next few months to iron out any creases and polish off the edges. I have full intentions to hit the professional ranks with a bang when the time is right, I’ll be ready.”

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