James Power embracing uncertainty as pro career heats up

James Power [4(4)-0] can’t be deemed your average Leaving Cert student.

The fact he is Ireland’s youngest professional boxer with a sizable enough media profile and has traded leather for pay in places like Mexico, Hungary, and Slovakia makes him stand out among the current batch of final year secondary attendees.

However, whilst his sixth year experiences may have been different from his class mates due to the fact he has traded books for boxing boots on four separate occasion, he still has the same worries and concerns as any teen just months short of making the step into the big bad world.

Having taken the brave move to turn pro before it’s even allowed in Ireland and having stared down and knocked out three hairy grown men as well as a fellow teenage prospect away from home, one may think that very little scares the Cork teen.

However, just like the majority of his peers, he has fears with regard to what happens when you leave the safety of the school bubble and points out the pressure on young adults to make an instant decision with regard to life is ‘madness’.

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“I don’t find the Leaving Cert scary to be scary,” Power told Irish-Boxing.com following his most recent knockout win.

“Figuring out what to do after it is scary. College, Work, Boxing? There’s so much pressure for everyone my age to sort their lives out instantly. It’s madness.”

Having turned over and started his pro career impressively it seems like there is future pathway laid out for the 17-year-old. However, the fact that looks likely to include relocating to Dublin to continue his boxing education rattles Power’s knees somewhat.

The Dripsey native explained how “I’m thinking about moving to Dublin to train full-time with Pete [Taylor] every day. But then getting things sorted out will take some time.”

“My mother does nearly everything for me and I rely on her way too much. She’s an amazing woman and I know it’ll be strange not having here around and actually having to fend for myself,” he adds with refreshing honesty.

Last week Power took another short notice opportunity facilitated by Andy O’Neill and hopped on a plane to Hungary, took a quick drive over the border to Slovakia, and registered a second round knockout win

Just like his fellow pro teen Aaron McKenna, Power has shown impressive power despite being so young and he indicates it’s power which could increase when he gets his man strength.

“I’m definitely feeling strong in the ring. I’m sparring very well at the moment and I’m feeling very sharp. I landed a few big shots on Saturday night and it was obvious that I have some power,” he notes following a perfect bodyshot KO.

But I’m only turning 18 next week. I’ve still got plenty of time to mature and I’m only going to get stronger with time.

Whether more punching power comes as Power matures remains to be seen, but the Rebel County fighter will certainly have on the road experience by the time he reaches his peak.

The committed Coachford College student admits traveling is anything but ideal for a self-confessed homeboy, but he is glad to be learning that now and dealing with the individual challenges years before he may have to go abroad for a big fight.

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“I’m learning from every fight, every time I get in there I feel a lot more comfortable. I’m a gaining a lot of experience from these trips aswell.

“On each one there are different challenges that I have to face. Somethings aren’t ideal if I’m being honest, I never sleep when I’m away from home and I really like a routine. I just know everything will feel more comfortable when I’m fighting at home.”

“But I suppose learning to deal with challenges is a good thing and it’ll pay off in the long run.”

Power is hoping it won’t be long before he can fight at home. Once he is 18 the BUI will allow him to take out a licence and fight in Ireland – and with TG4 backing boxing more and more, there could be a platform for the Leeside teen.

However, he suggests there may still be one or even two more journeys to take before he can trade leather in a venue readily accessible to his home fans.

Power suggests he wants a full time pro camp under his belt before his Irish debut and, with school commitments, that suggests an Irish homecoming won’t happen until at least Autumn – with Dylan Moran’s proposed Waterford show in September looking a good bet.

“I’m actually buzzed to fight at home,” said Power.

“The love all the Irish people give me is incredible and it’s growing with ever fight. It’ll be an honour to fight on home soil infront of them all.”

“Assassin, Andy, and myself have been trying to figure this out. We could go again in April, I might be out in May, we’ll see.”

“I’d prefer to get a proper training camp in, like an actual pro, before my first Irish fight to ensure that everyone sees the best possible version of me in my Irish debut. If that’s the case, then that’ll probably a long time off, maybe a visit back to where it all began [Mexico] might happen soon,” he adds before humbly thanking those who have helped him to date.

“I’d just like to say thank you to everyone that has supported me so far. My family and friends who wish me luck and want to see me do well. People in the media that help me get my name out there every time I fight. Plus thanks to Talbot Fitness in Ballincollig for allowing me to use their facilities everyday. None of this would be possible without any of them.”


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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com