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From Leaving Cert to LA -James Power to continue boxing education in America

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He got enough points to have his pick of colleges, but James Power [4(4)-0] has chosen to continue his education in the ring rather on any campus.

Ireland’s youngest pro became the nations favourite Leaving Cert student last year, as he mixed studying and exams with all things sweet science.

Indeed, Power, who fought in Mexico on one mid term break, became national news when within hours of landing back from his fourth pro fight, which played out in Hungry, he took his Irish Oral exam.

By that stage Irish fight fans began to become as interested in how the then 17-year-old was fairing between the classroom walls as they were with how well he was performing between the ropes.

It was a colourful tale that brought extra spotlight on a likable prospect – and in terms of schooling it’s a tale that ended well.

The Macroom fighter did his best to break some boxer stereotypes by proving he has brains as well as brawn.

Power, aced his Leaving wracking up close to 500 points, a tally that would have allowed him to study medicine in some colleges.

The 18-year-old is keen to have a career in the hurt business, but inflicting rather than curing pain. Power blocked out all ‘go to college’ advice and is currently trying to ensure he work as a full time boxer.

“I feel like the entire nation was waiting for my results,” Power told Irish-boxing.com when we requested an update.

“Well, it went great. I got almost 500 points and that’s not bad considering everything that happened over the past year. Perhaps, I did leave a few points behind me but it was one eventful year and I have absolutely no regrets.”

“A lot of people were trying to influence me to go to college even a few managers and promoters, but boxing is my life, It’s what I love and I’ve dedicated my entire life to it so far. So, if there’s any opportunity to pursue a career in this, I’ll take it with both hands and it’d be another dream come true.

“College will always be there for me, if I ever need it. But right now, I’m completely focused on boxing and I’m confident that with with my work ethic and the right team around me, I will make it. I’m still only 18 years old, I’ve had a great start to the sport, I already have an outstanding amount of support, and I have plenty of time to get to where I want to be.”

One opportunity has already come to the fore. Power was talking to Irish-boxing.com from Los Angles were he has been based for the last number of weeks.

The teen is training in LA and is hoping to impress his way onto the books of a managerial or promotional team that will allow him to fulfill his full time dream.

“This is a massive opportunity and one I am very grateful to receive. Since I turned pro last year, this is what I’ve been working towards and hoping for and I’m not going to waste it. I am confident in my ability, my dedication is second to none and no one wants it more than me.”

Power has been working alongside the McKenna brothers Stevie and Aaron, who are impressing early doors Stateside.

The Rebel County fighter is, just like the Monaghan duo, training under former South African heavyweight contender Courage Tshabalala and it’s believed if he impresses he will earn himself a contract with Sheer Sports, who look after Jason Quigley, the McKenna’s and Bret McGinty.

Power is confident something ‘special’ will come out of him relocating, but is enjoying the experience regardless.

“So far, I’m loving it in LA. I’ve settled in easily and my training camp is going great. I’m being coached by Courage Tshabalala and it really couldn’t be going any better. It seems like I’ve known him my entire life. We share a similar mindset and his way of teaching suits my style perfectly! Aside from that, Courage is an outstanding coach and has a tonne of boxing knowledge. He’s a world level coach and that’s exactly where I want to be. It’s early days but I believe this is the beginning of something special.

“I’m really enjoying training over here. Most of it is done at Buddy McGirt’s gym and just being in that gym environment everyday again is incredible. I’m learning so much from being around the likes of James Toney, Buddy, and all the older, more experienced world class athletes. Ronald Ellis, who just came out of Canelo’s camp and Scott Alexander are training alongside me everyday. Both men are very talented fighters and we’re all getting along really well.

“I’m very excited about the rest of this camp. I’m fully focused on giving each day everything I’ve got and making improvements in every session. I will learn so much in the coming weeks,” he adds before stressing he isn’t missing his mothers cooking!

“Interestingly, I haven’t felt homesick yet and I honestly don’t think I will. I’m speaking to my mother and sister everyday so it’s not much different to being at home. The support I’m receiving from the Irish people has once again, been incredible. I’m always blown away by it! It really doesn’t feel like I’m halfway around the world, especially with social media – it allows me to contact my family and friends whenever I’d like and that is incredibly important to me.”


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com