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Cork-based South African fighter planning big Irish introduction

Did you hear the one about the South African boxer fighting out of Cork?

Jade Karam [9(4)-4(2)-2] moved to the north Cork suburb of Blackpool earlier this year and on Friday he goes straight into a big domestic headline clash.

27 year old Karam faces top prospect Pádraig McCrory [1(0)-0] over eight rounds for the Celtic Nations super middleweight title at the Devenish Complex in West Belfast.

A strong amateur and pro in his native South Africa, the fighter of Lebanese descent is now looking to get in the mix on the Irish scene.

Life brought Karam to Ireland, but it was boxing that brought him to Cork as he explains to Irish-Boxing.com.

Karam outlined how “first I was just moving to Ireland with my wife and sister-in-law.”

“Then I started looking for a gym to train in on the internet and I sent emails to all of them telling them I’m professional.”

“One guy got back to me and told me that Gary Hyde was the best guy to speak to so I contacted him and he said if I can get to Cork he will help me get fights and that’s what made me decide to move to Cork.”

Hyde of course is the man who kicked off the pro careers of the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux and Mike Perez, and has looked after others such as Hassan N’Dam, Youri Kalenga, Levan Ghvamichava, and Mohammad Rabei.

A late starter in boxing, Karam finished runner-up at heavyweight in the 2014 South African Elite Seniors. Since turning pro in 2015 he has fought down through the weights, eventually ending up at his preferred middleweight where he won the Gauteng Provincial title.

Describing his style, the Johannesburg fighter stated that “I have one thing that no coach in the world can teach any boxer and that’s heart.”

“I have been cut and come back to win, I have been down and fought back to win.”

“If you watch me you see a mix of fighters from Rocky Marciano to Roy Jones Jr to the showboating of Sugar Ray. Depends on how the fight goes on the night. But I have big news after this fight, so it’ll be straight up business.”

In 29 year old McCrory he faces one of Kieran Farrell’s most hotly-tipped fighters.

‘The Beirut Bomber’ Karam is expecting a tough fight, and is hoping that the St James’s man isn’t overawed by the pressures of headlining

The African admitted that “I don’t know much about Pádraig. I know they call him the next Roy Jones Jr. I know he had a successful amateur career and I know come Friday he will give me one hell of a fight and I expect nothing less at this point of my career.”

“I have respect for any fighter that steps into the ring. This isn’t an easy sport and I promise an action packed fight from start to finish. ”

“I have lots of experience compared to him but that can be both good and bad. People haven’t really had the opportunity to see what Pádraig has to offer to boxing and he will want to show them that his the real deal and get the win.”

“I know it will be a tough fight and come Friday night I hope the pressure of headlining and fighting for a title doesn’t affect Pádraig negatively and we can both just give the fans a great show and give them their money’s worth.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie