“I was just sick of it” – John Cooley makes ring return on Friday

In one of a number of Irish-themed cards around the world on Friday night, Derry super bantamweight John Cooley [1(0)-0] returns to the ring in Tampa, Florida.

Cooley has not fought since his debut nine months ago, and finally comes back on Friday at the A La Carte Pavilion on the ‘St Paddy’s Day Revolution’ card that will be televised regionally on Telemundo. Here he will feature alongside old amateur clubmate and current pro stablemate Connor Coyle.

The past few months have been frustrating for Cooley, but the St Joseph’s boxer looks back as it as a reinvigorating experience. The Foylesider explained that “I was out for so long because I had problems with the manager I was with in New York. I don’t want to mention any names but he pulled me out of a fight the week before and we didn’t see eye to eye. I just got sickened with the sport completely after everything I went through in the amateurs then the same was happening in the pros.”

“I was just sick of it so I stepped away for a bit longer than I would have wanted but it did me good. My heart is still in it from being away.”

Cooley comes into the fight feeling good, and outlined how “training is going amazing. I have an amazing team around me; Jim McLoughlin, John Vinci Guerra, and my strength and conditioning coach at Spinnergy Fitness Jim Conahan – he’s the best around and has gotten me into tremendous shape for this fight. Weight is not an issue and I’m making it comfortably.”

The four rounder is a bit of a mystery for Cooley who noted that “as for the opponent, I know he’s Puerto Rican and he’s having his pro debut on this card – apart from that we don’t have too much more on him! All I can do is go in, do what I do and what I’ve trained to do, and that’s all I have to worry about.”

Of course, Friday also sees the debut of Mick Conlan at Madison Square Garden, and 30 year old Cooley will be casting an eye up the East Coast, but he is happy with his lot in the Sunshine State – although a homecoming could be in the offing.

“It’s every Irish fighters dream to fight on St Patrick’s Day,” he said. “Ideally we would have loved to be in New York, that’s the Mecca of boxing for any fighter on St Patrick’s Day!”

“But being on here in Florida and having the fan base I have is just amazing and makes it a little more special and personal to me, and I thank each and every one of them for supporting me.”

“As for fighting back home, I would love to. I was actually supposed to be on the show Connor fought in Feburary [25th, Red Corner Promotions] but it was too close to the due date of my son being born so we couldn’t take the chance, but I’m hoping to be on back home soon, hopefully in 2017.”

Jamie Conlan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill for Episode 3 of The Irish Boxing Show:

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