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“I got the cheer of the night” – 17-year-old Power’s Mexican love affair begins

Different isn’t always bad. That’s certainly the case for James Power anyway.

The Cork fighter’s debut certainly didn’t follow the one highlighted in the boxing manual and he feels all the better for it.

For one, Power debuted earlier than most and became a pro boxer at the tender age of 17. He even had to take a few days off school to do so.

Then there was the venue. The leaving cert student’s first ring walk didn’t take place on a small hall in Ireland or on even on the undercard of a high profile card.

Power’s traded leather for the first time in Tijuana Mexico, most likely not how the teen envisioned his inaugural punch for pay experience, but it’s an experience he is grateful to have had nonetheless.

Speaking to Irish-boxing.com after his second round stoppage win over Omar Santos, a delighted Power asked “how many people can say they made their debut in Mexico?”

“Yeah, it’s a little bizarre but I enjoyed it and I’m very happy that I did it!”

“It’s different,” he added before flirting with the ‘a ring is a ring’ adage. 

“It wasn’t in a fancy arena or on TV, but I’m always excited to get in there and perform the best I can. The circumstances never really bother me. I just enjoy boxing, it’s the thing I love. I also like to experience new things and do things differently to everyone else.”

As a young amateur of note Power would have traveled to fight before, but not without a large team and certainly not in the pro environs of fight mad Mexico.

It’s an experience some Irish fighters have had of late due to Assassin Promotion’s contacts in the country. However, it still remains unique for an boxer so young to taste the surrounds of Mexico and experience the fight-hungry Hispanic fans.

“Tijuana was a great experience. I had an idea of the place before I went there, that was completely wrong,” Power added now taking the travel writers role.

“It was an exciting place but I felt comfortable there and because we had [Assassin fighter] Israel [Duffus] who speaks Spanish, with us we could communicate with everyone easily. He also has a car so that made everything a lot easier over there. Declan [Geraghty Snr, coach] looked after me as well and made sure I was always out of harm’s way.”

While the location differed from the norm for a young Irish fighter turning over, the atmosphere in the stadium was similar to Ireland claims Power.

Like Irish fight fans the Mexican are a knowledgeable bunch want to be entertained and he suggests witnessing their thirst for blood inspired his aggressive approach- and it proved an approach the locals loved.

“The fans are passionate, loud, and enjoy a good scrap, so they’re very similar to the Irish. They were getting behind the fighters that were looking to hurt their opponent. They wanted to see a war, so I knew exactly what was needed to impress them.

“So that’s what I tried to give the fans, and it must have worked because I got the biggest cheer of the night. The place was mental when I won. I felt almost at home in there, thanks to the fans.”

While there was genuine excitement around the debut circumstances there was also a business element to the trip. The latest addition to the Irish pro circuit was in Mexico to win and after that was achieved he claims his performance has to reflect on his performance not the sombreros and sun.

“Honestly, I done things that were good and things that weren’t so good. I studied my fight and noticed the areas that I done very well in but also my weaker areas.”

“Myself and Declan will be straight back in the gym working on them to improve my next performance. Then I will do the exact same thing after that, That’s how we learn.”

Regardless of where and when, the fight last Friday week was the realization of a life-long dream for Power, but he has new goals now and is adamant this is the first step along what could be a storied journey.

“It feels amazing [to be a pro]. I love the fact that the one thing I’ve thought about for so long has come true. I’ve actually done it. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing you can accomplish your dreams. But this is only the start of a very long journey and I can’t wait to see where I can go from here.”

What next for Power? He looks likely to appear in Mexico again and won’t fight at home until he turns 18 next April, but for the mean time it’s back to the books and some important but less glamorous duties.

“It was nothing different when I got back. I got home at 10 o’clock on Tuesday and went to school bright and early on Wednesday morning. Everyone is in great from and there’s a great atmosphere around the place. I’m happy to be back.”


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