Compared to some Irish fighters, Kennedy was an undistinguished amateur, but this Friday he will be involved in the headline fight of a Lou DiBella-promoted card at the Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Connecticut.
The Wexford heavyweight faces New England champion Alexis Santos [18(15)-1(1)] in Mashantucket, and Collins is “very confident” ahead of the ten rounder.
The Celtic Warriors Gym boss told Irish-Boxing.com that “he really wants this, and he believes it’s in his grasp. Although he only he has eight fights, he’s better than his eight fights.”
He fought eight rounds in his last fight and knocked the guy out in the eighth round – a fighter Santos couldn’t knock out. His fitness is great, he’s tough as nails.”
“I’m very happy with where we are, we had a good camp this time.”
“In my eyes it is a fifty-fifty fight right now.”
Collins is not underestimating the challenge of Santos, and acknowledged that “he’s a good fighter, he’s a dangerous fighter, he’s a puncher, and he’s improved over the last few years.”
“Alexis Santos obviously has the experience as a professional fighter over Niall, but Niall has a lot more experience as an amateur over Santos. Niall, in the amateurs, fought at a much higher level than Santos.”
“We were thinking about getting Niall one or two more fights in between, but Niall said no, he wants this fight with Alexis Santos.”
“It’ll put his name out there and give people the opportunity to get to know him.”
The Cabra coach paid credit to his fighter and stated “oh my God, I’ve never seen anyone improve so much as I have Niall. He’s so determined, he loves boxing.”
“He’s improving, he’s an intelligent guy, and having a bit of intelligence does help to improve and get better.”
“He surprises me all the time. I ask for a little bit more on some days in the gym and he never complains.”