Senan Kelly has finally begun to see his boxing gambles pay off – but is adamant he hasn’t hit the jackpot just yet.
The Kildare fighter has trekked the rough terrain of small hall boxing, building a record away from home and on non-tv undercards.
He was also without promotional backing for the most part, had to survive frustrating periods of inactivity and suffered with a bad shoulder injury.
However, despite the setbacks, he continued to back himself – and believes the process of his bets coming in began last Friday.
The Kildare light welterweight defeated Welsh champion Jake Tinklin to collect the BUI Celtic title on ‘The Recall’ card.
It’s was a massive moment for the Pete Taylor-trained fighter but just the beginning of something special rather than the end of a hard journey, he points out.
“This means everything to me,” he tells Irish-boxing.com.
“This is what I’ve been working for, this is life. It’s the beginning and the start of something special,” he adds before reflecting on some of the hardships.
“It’s been a hard path for me. Very hard, dislocating my shoulder, never getting signed, I made my way up in small hall shows, paying my way on the shows. It’s a big gamble, a bigger gamble was paying 12,000 out of my own pocket to get my shoulder fixed. I invested in this. I bet on myself and I’m starting to reap the rewards.”
In keeping with the backing himself theme, JB Promotions first champion took a big risk in a bid to get BUI Celtic title.
With no Irish fighters willing to share the ring he paid a purse to get the more experienced Welsh fighter to come to Dublin – and again it’s a risk that paid off.
“I took a gamble and backed myself and I came out on top again,” he adds.
“I’m not one to mention names. It’s a tough sport as it is I feel like we need to build each other up not tear each other down. It’s just true, this fight was offered to a few people. If someone [from Ireland] took it I could have made a bit of money, we wouldn’t have to bring an opponent in from abroad. This fight was a lot more expensive than fighting an Irish lad.”
Speaking to Irish-boxing.com after the win, new promoter Jay Byrne said he had Irish title plans for the Liexlip native and Kelly has ‘Champ Champ’ aspirations.
“It looks like the Irish title is going to be in May. This makes me mandatory for the Irish title, so I’ll have another belt on my shoulder very soon, call me the Champ Champ.”