There’s a new-found confidence about Niall Kennedy [11(7)-0].
A big win, top performances, sparring with the unified heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, and training like a demon has the 34-year-old in a good place ahead of his twelfth professional fight this weekend.
Kennedy fights in New Hampshire on a Murphys Boxing card, boxing Joel Caudle [7(5)-1(0)-1] over eight rounds on an afternoon festival show at the Bank of New England Pavilion.
While the fight may not be as big as originally intended, Kennedy remains hungry, confident that a massive breakthrough is just around the corner.
The Wexford heavyweight explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “there was the UFC lad [Fabio Maldonado] first, then there was the Mexican fella [Christian Mariscal] who I couldn’t find any video of, and now it’s this guy Joe Caudle.”
“I know very little about him. I watched about a minute of him in a fight that he won and he looks like he’s well able to box. His condition is a bit like that Big Daddy, or Big Baby, or whatever they call him, Miller. A massive man but with a bit of weight on him.”
“He has a good record. Despite his size, he’s quick, he can box, he’s a decent boxer.”
While Caudle, ranked 113 in America, shouldn’t test Kennedy too much, the Gorey Garda is approaching the bout professionally and is keen to impress.
With manager and trainer Paschal Collins having good links with Matchroom and promoter Murphys being well-linked to both Golden Boy and Al Haymon, Kennedy feels he is close to big things.
“He [Caudle] is an opponent and I have to believe in what Murphys are doing and that it will work. It’s worked for Spike [O’Sullivan], he’s in an unbelievable position.”
“I listen to Packie and Ken [Casey, Murphys Boxing chief] and whatever happens, whoever comes up, I’ll fight them.”
“I was of the belief [this fight] would be for a WBA-NABA title which would have gotten me the Top 15 world ranking I’m looking for. It’s not, but it’s for my IBA Americas title, and it’s up to me to perform and to look good and to impress people enough to get a TV slot.”
“I set a goal at the start of the year to be in the Top 20 – and if I’m not in the Top 20 at the end of the year, I’ll have to talk with Ken and Paschal. If I was fighting and I was losing I would expect them, as friends, as managers, as promoters, to turn around down and tell me ‘Niall, you’re not doing the job’.”
“I know I’m putting my bit in. I believe we can do it, Paschal is calling for the fights, Ken has done unbelievable work with Spike.”
In terms of putting his bit in, 34-year-old Kennedy notes how he is in the shape of his life, having built on his big breakthrough win over top DiBella prospect Alexis Santos last December.
“I’m a different animal now from the Santos fight,” he outlined. “I lacked belief then, I’d only sparred ten rounds once – I’m doing ten rounds fairly regularly now.”
“That lull that I was having, I can control that better now, I can have a breather but still be working and still be intense.”
“This is definitely the hardest I’ve trained. I think I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. What I lack for in other areas, I make up for in determination and training.”
“I’m training at Stephen Ormond pace, he’s my favourie Irish fighter, I try to mimic him as much as possible, bar the bad haircut. That in your face approach, it’s not really seen at heavyweight.”
“That style, it’s worked for me, it’s set now, I’d say I’m throwing 100 punches around which is unusual for a heavyweight.”
“I’m excited for this fight because I feel really good, I’ve sparred well, my fitness is insane at the minute.”
While he’s keen to walk before he can run, the Willow Park puncher is confident in his own ability.
Earlier this year a fight with former world title challenger Artur Szpilka was accepted only for it to fall through and Kennedy believes he has the beating of a number of world-rated heavyweights.
The ambitious fighter admits that “I’d like the likes of [Dominic] Breazeale, I’d like Charles Martin, I’m not being stupid but I’d actually take a fight with [Jarrell] Miller as well. I think I’m improving enough to see where I am with them.”
“It’s all about me impressing against this lad Caudle – I’m not looking past him, I just want to do it well.”
“I’m an Irish heavyweight and over there [U.S. East Coast] I think there’s a big market for it. I impressed on the DiBella show, I did well, and I think that fight was a very good fight, it was fan friendly.”
“I’m not going to scream names or shout names, that’s not my approach, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and if it works, that’s great.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)