He is known for being cool, calm and collected in the run-up to big fights.
But Dungiven boxer Paul McCloskey has taken his icy confidence to a whole new level in preparation for his bout with Amir Khan.
And as the clock counts down to this weekend’s showdown in Manchester’s MEN Arena, the secrets of McCloskey’s strict training regime have been cracked.
As part of his preparations to claim the WBA World Light-Welterweight title, the 31-year-old has gone to teeth-chattering lengths to get the edge over his English opponent by freezing his own body.
So desperate is McCloskey to lay his hands on the coveted WBA belt that he has been taking part in a revolutionary recovery technique, known as cryotherapy.
As part of the process, athletes stand in a chamber while liquid nitrogen freezes the body to temperatures as low as minus 150 degrees centigrade.
Daniel Brannagan, owner of Dungannon Advanced Cryo Care, where McCloskey underwent the recovery process, explained how it works.
He said: “Paul’s been coming to us for the last couple of months.
“He’s been a good few times and it helps to speed up his recovery time.
“He would have been training flat-out in the weeks leading up to the fight and he would have had to rest an extra day if he hadn’t been using cryotherapy.
“What you do is stand in the chamber for up to three minutes and it cools your body temperature down to minus 150 degrees Celsius. The cryo chamber gives the body a shock by cooling it down so quickly, meaning it increases your circulation and metabolism by eight to 10 times.
“It uses liquid nitrogen to cool the surface of the skin down faster than any other method.
“People use it to recover from injury — it can improve your injury recovery time by up to 50%.
“We launched last year and it’s proven really popular for athletes; people have been coming back again and again.
“Paul seems really confident and ready for his big night at the weekend.
“There’s no doubt the cryotherapy will help him get on top of his game and make sure he wins the fight.”
The WBA Light-Welterweight title fight against Amir Khan will take place in Manchester tomorrow.
The head of sports medicine at the Sports Institute Northern Ireland, Philip Glasgow, has worked with McCloskey in the lead-up to the big fight.
He said the jury was still out on the cryotherapy technique.
He said: “There’s no strong evidence for or against, but some people are reporting some good results.
“The focus of the technique is on trying to reduce the soreness that can be caused with training. A lot of people use the technique and report really good effects. But this is just one facet of meticulous training.”
Paul McCloskey isn’t the first sportsman to use the unusual cryotherapy technique to up his game. Jockey Tony McCoy plunged into the sub-zero temperatures to help speed up his recovery from a back injury in 2008. Skiier Chemmy Alcott is also said to be a fan of the chilly therapy. Outside of sport, Tony Blair reportedly used the treatment for a knee injury, while Alice Cooper and actress Pamela Anderson have also tried it.
McCloskey’s camp getting shirty
Gary Boyd, Eamonn Magee and William Thompson in their McCloskey T-shirts
By David Kelly
Paul McCloskey's camp are ready to wind up World Champion Amir Khan with specially designed T-shirts, mocking the boxing superstar's recent snub by Sky television.
Sky pulled the plug on Khan-McCloskey as a pay-per-view box office event, and then after a fall-out with Team Khan the broadcaster refused to screen the fight.
That led to the WBA World title fight being screened on a pay-per-view basis (£14.95) on the Primetime channel on the Sky digital format.
McCloskey's assistant coach Eamonn Magee, among others, will don the T-shirt at today's weigh-in for the big showdown in Manchester.
The shirt depicts McCloskey knocking out the Bolton boxer and declaring ‘Now Sky don't even want you', as well as stating, on the back, ‘McCloskey — Sky Box Office, see you there soon!”