Improved John Cooley eager to begin building momentum in Florida

John Cooley‘s first year as a pro hasn’t gone exactly to plan, but the Derry super bantamweight remains positive and is ready to put into practice all his hard training this weekend.

Cooley [2(0)-0] fights on Saturday night at the A La Carte Pavilion in Tampa, Florida, on the biggest stage of his career.

The former St Joseph’s amateur boxes on a Fire Fist card that will be streamed live in it’s entirety worldwide by Golden Boy Promotions via and Cooley is chomping at the bit to get going.

The St Petersburg-based fighter told that “training’s going fantastic, I’ve had some great work in the gym, hard sessions twice a day and good sparring as well.”

“I’m feeling great was on weight three days ago so that’s always a bonus, not to be stressing about that.”

An upbeat fighter, Saturday will be just Cooley’s third pro fight since debuting last June. The 30 year old outlined how “it’s been a long year with a lot of disappointments with fights falling through on me and fights being called off.”

“It has been very frustrating, it was only a week before the [last] fight that it got called off as three opponents pulled out.”

“I was going home for a wedding as well so it was kind of bittersweet – I got to go home and enjoy my trip stress free but at the same time I was ready to rock on and fight. but that’s the pros, it just seems like that’s a common occurrence in the professional game.”

“But all the while I was still in the gym training and working on the small things that help to improve every fighter.”

“I think I have improved but even more adapted to the pro style. ”

The last time he did actually fight was on a St Patrick’s Day show in Florida. That night, against Emilio Rivera, Cooley suffered a third round knockdown but recovered to claim a four-round unanimous decision points win.

It’s all a learning curve for Cooley, who has taken the experience in his stride. The Foylesider recalled how “I took a nice right hand over the top, which was a flash knockdown to be honest, I never felt hurt or even light-headed and I got straight up and took it straight back to the kid.”

“It was his pro debut but supposedly the kid’s been around boxing gyms his whole life and lives in the gym so he knew his way around a ring and hats off to him, can’t take it away from him.”

“He caught me a beltin’ shot, but I have definitely learned from that to never let your concentration go because it’s only a fraction of a second and it could be all over.”

On Saturday he faces Joseph Cole [0-2(1)], and he certainly wont be underestimating the Louisiana boxer.

Cooley admitted that “I don’t know too much about him again, I know he’s 0-2 and the guys that beat him were 2-0 and 3-0 so you never know what your in for.”

“I honestly only care about how I train and if I stick to my game and boxing I should come out with the win – but he has two hands and a brain just like me so I never underestimate anyone that steps into the ring.”

gym trition

frayne carpentry

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: