Martin Rogan has worked with a varied bunch of trainers during his short, but relatively successful career, and now the ‘Iron Man’ firmly believes that he has found his match in the form of Panamanian magic man Bernardo Checa. ‘Rogie’ of course motored along under the tutelage of John Breen and Eamonn Magee for so long, before infamously breaking free and joining up with veteran coach Paul McCullagh for the Sam Sexton rematch. Immaculata man Gerry ‘Nugget’ Nugent was most recently seen manning the corner but now Checa is on board.
“Bernardo Checa has taught me so many new things and I have a strength and conditioning coach on board for the first time,” waxed Rogan, at the Balmoral Hotel press conference organised to announce his October 27 headliner.
“Bernardo is a magical trainer and will get me in the best shape of my life; he’s travelling from Carrickfergus to Belfast every day to train me. I don’t just want to win this fight for myself or my family, I want to win it for the people of Belfast.”
It must be said that teaching an old dog new tricks is easier said than done and at 40 years of age it is difficult to envisage Rogan coming out for his Odyssey main event and trying to outfox opponent Luis Andres Pineda. There are always exceptions to the rule and former Rogan victim Matt Skelton did remarkably pull that trick out of the bag back in 2006 when achieving rematch revenge over Danny Williams by adopting a counter punching, box and move style. Rogan may not be willing to go as far as that though.
“My style of fighting centres around hitting the opponent as many times as I can until he drops,” the Clonard brawler chuckled. “Bernardo is keeping the forceful anger but also bringing out the skill that I have locked inside. For a long time I was using my face as a barrier. I got into boxing late and I was trying to learn everything quickly. I’m trying to develop a bit of technique and do things that I should have been doing a long time ago.”
Martin turned professional way back in 2004 with a first round stoppage win over Lee Mountford in the Ulster Hall. His meteoric rise was aided by the aforementioned Breen and despite their tenuous break up, Rogan holds plenty of admiration for his ex-mentor and his methods.
“I respect John Breen for his patience and guidance,” Martin confessed. “Trainers don’t get enough appreciation and John Breen lives and sleeps boxing – he never lets his fighters down. He has a stable full of fighters who could fight on this undercard.”
However, whether or not Rogan’s style is anyway altered on fight night, main man Bernardo Checa, who also calls the shots in Brian Magee’s corner, holds on to one key boxing philosophy.
“The name of this game is to hit and not get hit,” extolled Checa. “Pineda is a good fighter who’s been around a bit and fought for the cruiserweight title two or three times. We are expecting a tough fight and Martin will be ready for his opponent.”