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“I feel like I am 18 again” – Finally fit John Joe Nevin better than ever ahead of ring return

John Joe Nevin [8(4)-0] finally makes his return to the ring tomorrow night.

After fourteen months out, the Mullingar fighter is back in the ring in London on a Hennessy card at the Tolworth Recreation Centre.

It’s been another frustrating spell on the sidelines for the Olympic silver medalist whose pro career has been blighted by problems.

Nevin, however, has stayed positive throughout and has promised to hit the ground running.

A succession of minor injuries – and a last minute cancellation in London last month – have conspired to keep Nevin from progressing his career, but he is finally, for the first time in years, firing on all cylinders.

Indeed, a spell out of the ring whilst staying focused seems to have been a blessing in disguise for the Mullingar Shuffler.

“It’s been a long time, but I haven’t gone anywhere,” he told Irish-Boxing.com.

“I have still been in the gym. I did have injuries and niggles, but maybe that gave my body time to recover and it’s back better than ever.”

“I have been having minor injuries. I was meant to headline a card in Philadelphia on Paddy’s Day. I had over 500 ticket sold and one of these freak things that happen in the gym happened. I twisted my body and something happened my rib.”

We will still box in Philadelphia we are just getting back in the swing of things, shaking the feathers in this fight. I hope to fight in Philadelphia again, but in London and England too. I don’t know wherever is best for us.

The time out has been hard, but Nevin has stayed positive.

“It’s been tough,” he admits. “When you’re getting these injuries so close to fights and nothing going right for you – I am out of the ring 14 months remember – it can really get to you. But the team around me keep supporting me and keep you focused and on what the future can bring.”

Now training in London, Nevin has linked up with esteemed coach Jim McDonnell, and described how his new trainer “is tremendous support. My manager has lots of fighters with him. He manages James Degale and Reece Bellotti so I went the gym to see how I got on with him and I think he is a good man to have in my corner.”

There is a sense of the last chance saloon for the 28 year old, but he is feeling reinvigorated ahead of his six-round return against game journeyman Lee Connelly [7(0)-28(4)-3].

Nevin outlined how “this is it.”

“I feel like I am 18 again. My body is healthy and fit. My sparring is brilliant. I am over the moon with how my body is.”

“Again I am coming to fight as a lightweight, my opponent is coming in as a light welter. We picked a light welter because we wanted someone durable, someone that will allow me to get rounds in.”

“I have been inactive so I don’t need a blow over. I need to get the rounds in.”

The Irish super feathrweight division is booming, with a recent British and Commonwealth title challenge from Anto Cacace and the continued rise of Jono Carroll.

Nevin wants to get in the mix soon, and noted how “them lads are tremendous and all great boxers, but they know who I am and know I am a great boxer too.”

“There are lots of great fights out there for me, but they have to make sense. That end is up to my manager I would fight anyone.”

“We are hoping 2018 is a big year for us. I have had eight fights, this will be be my ninth and I am willing to step up. I would take on anyone.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)


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