Recently I caught up with up and coming Irish Heavyweight Niall Kennedy. He spoke about his fight in Boston next week, training under renowned Irish trainer Paschal Collins and the support he has received from the top guys in Irish boxing.
What has it been like training under Packie Collins how was he helped you grow as a fighter?
“Training under Packie has been a massive learning curve and also a huge compliment. Packie has turned down the opportunity to train lots of fighters and I’m honored he gave me the chance.
He has helped me a lot with simple things such as foot placement defensively and working on the inside. He is very relaxed and spreads that through the whole gym.”
You have big expectations on you to reach the top, do you feel pressure or do you use it as motivation?
“I’m not sure if there is a massive external expectation for me to reach the top, but internally I am a very determined to work as hard as I physically can to get the best out of myself.
I’m chasing a dream and with the team I have in Celtic Warriors Gym and help from Gorey Boxing Club, my wife and family and work, God willing I will reach the heights my ability deserves.”
Packie Collins, Spike O’Sullivan, Steve Collins and Stephen Ormond all rate you very highly, how does it feel to have the backing of guys who achieved so much in boxing?
“The support I have received from Packie and the lads is unreal. Only last week Steve Collins Sr was over and the advice he also gives is unreal. Spike is brilliant to train with, he is such a joker and in my opinion Stephen Ormond is the best lightweight in the world, so their support is unreal.
But we all help each other from me Luke, Stevie Jnr, Timsy, Jono,Lynn, Pajo and up until recently Frank Buglioni we are all very close and support each other.”
You fight in Boston next week – how are preparations going for your fight?
“Preparation for Boston has went extremely well inside the ring and out. I’ve worked on a lot of stuff that I believe will benefit me massively in the ring.
Stevie Jr and myself have done hundreds of rounds of sparring so everything is going well.”
Who will you be facing, can you tell us about him?
“The opponent I have been told I will box is a very decent, big, strong, athletic man, who does everything good. I won’t mention names as it’s not on Boxrec yet so as well you know things can change.
Packie has tried to get me to focus on what I have to do so that’s the most important thing to me. I believe in trust and I trust Packie wholeheartedly, so I trust his advice in relation to any opponent.”
Have you been working on anything new ahead of this fight?
“I have been working on relaxing in the ring and doing some strength work. I’m hoping to showcase a lot of skills people don’t think I have, so fingers crossed.”
What do you think of the Irish Heavyweight division at the moment?
“The current Irish heavyweight scene is the strongest it’s been in a long time. Sean and Connie are both flying and have strong management companies supporting them.
Best of luck to them. We’ve had some great fights and spars over the years. Let’s not forget Big Rogie too. Martin has been in-active but his experience is second to none and he is a top fella. The very best of luck to Martin as well.”
What goals have you set yourself for the rest of the year?
“Packie will decide my faith, he is my trainer and manager but I’d really like to get active and get at least 6 fights this year.
I’m realistic I have to bide my time I’m not signed to any big management companies, so I’ll stay ready and when my opportunity comes I’ll take hinges as well as the door.”
For those who don’t know, what can they expect when they watch a Niall Kennedy fight?
“For anyone that doesn’t know what to expect when you come to see me fight, I am a real simple humble guy from Willow Park in Gorey Co.Wexford who is doing what he loves and has done everyday of his life since I was 7.
I feel I’m one of the slickest heavyweights around style-wise and I am improving, you are promised I will always give 110%. If you do come to support me please come over say hello and let me thank you, because genuinely it means a lot to me.”
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