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IABA President: Senior Elites “not necessary at this stage of his development” for Michael Nevin

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IABA President and Portlaoise BC club coach Pat Ryan has hailed the performances of Michael Nevin at the recent World Youth Championships in St Petersburg – but has warned that the bronze medal-winning middleweight will be not rushed to senior level.

Nevin looked hugely impressive in Russia en-route to the semi finals, where he was defeated by eventual gold medalist Willie Hutchinson, and many expected him to compete at the Senior Elite Championships next February where he would battle it out with the likes of Conor Wallace and John Joyce to be the top middleweight in the country.

Ryan however told Irish-Boxing.com that Nevin will be brought along slowly, and will not be entered into the tournament in February – which will largely determine selection for the 2017 European and World Championships in Germany and Russia respectively. Instead, he will be sent for January’s under-22 Championships.

Ryan credited the talent of the Midlander, but noted how it is exactly this sort of special talent which needs to be handled delicately. He described how “We were absolutely over the moon with Michael. He’s an incredible guy, wonderful personality, great attitude, and a serious talent.

“You have to nurture that talent and you have to be strong to make decisions. When you have a talent you have to mind it, nurse it, and make very very strong decisions.”

“His predecessor [Michael O’Reilly] didn’t box in the Seniors [Elites] until he was 20 years old, and was probably a little shade ahead in his development at the time.”

Ryan acknowledged that there will be calls for the 18 year old to make the move to Elite level, but promised he will move Nevin gradually. He explained that “Michael’s physical development is beyond his chronological age, and that is a variable that you look at, and that doesn’t mean that we will make a rash decision – that because of that [his physical development] we will put him in the Senior Elite Championships. For what purpose? There are other factors that say no. When he comes into the elite squad he’s going to be sparring men, on a daily basis, when he’s not a ‘man.'”

“An 18 year old is a boy, and to go in and start competing with 24, 25, 26, 27 year olds, especially at that weight, is not necessary at this stage of his development. We’ll be patient, extremely patient with Michael.”

“I think it’s important that the big boys come later, and we will wait till later.”

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