Niall Kennedy [7(4)-0] may be fighting on St Patrick’s Weekend, but it is more like Christmas for the Wexford heavyweight.
Kennedy has gone under the radar somewhat during his pro career. The gentle Gorey giant has went about his business quietly since turning pro, building his record in America.
Now the skilled big man faces into his first title fight, and Kennedy is overjoyed with the opportunity.
‘Boom Boom Baz’ will fight Jesse Barboza [11(7)-3(1)-1] over eight rounds on Saturday for the Massachusetts State title on a big Murphys Boxing show in Boston, and Kennedy can barely control his delight.
“I’m as excited as a child at Christmas,” he told Irish-Boxing.com ahead of the bout at the House of Blues. “I’ve boxed all my life for an opportunity like this and I feel amazing. If it gets the kids in Gorey excited and back in the door of Gorey BC, all the better too.”
Kennedy enters the bout in the best shape of his career, and described how “preparations for this fight started in late December. I’ve put one million percent effort into this; lots of sparring, lots of personal training on strength and conditioning and mobility with James Sunderland at #TheWorxGym Gorey, and Packie [Collins, coach] has been drilling our gameplan into me since early January.”
The former Elite Senior finalist is not one to big himself up – but that does not mean he lacks ambition or confidence. Kennedy explained that “I have went about everything I’ve done in the pro game very quietly, stepping it up every time I get in the ring. This fight sets up bigger fights, but I’ll continue the way I always have been and try to be respectful and hard working and ready when I get my opportunity. ”
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about this fight – but I know I’ve my job to do. My profile is very low key and I like that, but don’t take that for not being ambitious – this is only another phase to where I plan on ending up.”
Kennedy is looking forward to facing a strong opponent – and indeed one he believes will fancy overcoming the Wexford fighter. He outlined how “Jesse Barboza is a very high level opponent who does everything well and can punch. I’ve seen enough of him which is mostly very good and I’ll give him credit, he is an in-shape, big, fit heavyweight who is looking at me I’d say and licking his lips.”
“But this is a great fight for me, and I believe this will be fight of the night because I am sure he is in great shape and I know I am at my best ever going into a fight. With the help of God I’ll do what I can do and I promise that will be enough.”
“I’m blessed with my support; my wife and family, my workmates and bosses, my sponsors Fun Palace Casino and Amber Springs Hotel and Spa, but also Packie who I trust, and Ken Casey who I believe has my best interests in his heart.”
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography
Jamie Conlan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill for Episode 3 of The Irish Boxing Show: