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How Russian food helped turn Kevin Sheehy into a champion heavyweight

A dislike for Russian cooking has helped Kevin Sheehy transform into one of the hottest prospects in Irish amateur boxing.

At Youth level the Limerick big man was a somewhat squat super heavyweight, but a trip to St Petersburg in late 2016 for the World Youth Championships has helped him become a lean mean 91 kilo fighting machine.

Sheehy returned to the National Stadium in Dublin recently and in two months has claimed both the National Senior [Intermediate] and U22 titles at heavyweight.

The 19-year-old explained to how “In the under 18s I was a super heavyweight and I moved down. I kind of had a bit of puppy fat on me and I needed to get it off.”

“When I went to Russia for the World Championships I had no other choice because I didn’t like the food, I had to lose the weight!”

“When I came back from Russia I was 92kg so obviously the next best move was to move down the weight.”

“I feel like a different person, a lot better. I’m in a lot better shape, I’m on my toes, I’m way more comfortable.”

Sheehy defeated James Clarke of Kilnamanagh, a super heavyweight entry in last year’s Elites, in the finals of the U22s on Saturday afternoon.

The performance won plaudits for the St Francis’s teenager, who was also hailed as one of the stand-outs at the Intermediates last month.

Looking back on the fight, Sheehy described how “I felt my way into the first round, the first round was fairly close. I was just finding my range.”

“To be honest, when I found my range I think I did well and took over, I won the second and third round well.”

It’s a busy schedule for Sheehy who, with the upcoming Elite Senior Championships and European U22s, is looking at four tournaments in four months – however this is just how he likes it.

Sheehy noted how “it has been intense, but I prefer it that way. I prefer having stuff to do all the time, looking forward to new championships, I look at it as new tests each time. When I won the Seniors [Intermediates] I was thinking to myself straight away ‘what’s next?’.”

“Obviously we knew the 22s were next and I was hoping to win that and get myself on the plane to Romania for the Europeans.”

With the first of two Elite Championships in 2018 being less crucial in terms of Olympic qualification, Sheehy could have been forgiven for wanting to focus on the European U22s and another few months of development ahead of November’s tournament.

However, the talented teenage feels ready and outlined how “I’m entered for the Elites, it’s something that I’ve wanted since I started boxing.”

“To box in the Elites, box people I’ve been looking at on TV and on social media and who I’ve been looking up to for years. Now I get the chance to actually box them!”

“I definitely feel I can mix it up with the adults. I was sparring with Elite super heavyweights and heavyweights in the build up to the Intermediates and the 22s, I can definitely mix it with them.”

“I just have to do it on the day now and we’ll see what happens.”

Photo Credit: William McNamara – WMC Photography


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: