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Luke Keeler on sparring ‘The Wrecking Machine’ Jamie Cox

Photo Credit: Karen Priestley Photography – @KarenPriestley

At this moment, Swindon-Donegal super middleweight Jamie Cox is perhaps known better for the stories which surround his sparring sessions rather than any one of his 21 wins.

‘The Wrecking Machine’ is rumoured to have gotten the better of both Badou Jack and James DeGale, and this reputation is frequently cited.

However, Dublin middleweight Luke Keeler [11(5)-2(1)] shared the ring with him recently and, by all accounts, acquitted himself brilliantly. The Ballyfermot banger, alongside Celtic Warriors gym mate Stephen Ormond, flew over to Bristol to spar Cox and Frankie Gavin respectively.

Keeler spoke to about the experience and explained that “it was great. They were saying over there that a lot of guys are afraid to spar him, The Wrecking Machine and all that, and he was a weight division heavier than me. But I don’t mind, I’d get in with anyone. We spar everyone in the gym. I wasn’t phased at all.”

Recalling the spar, Keeler described how “I did great work with him. I did a hard six rounds. It just gave me that bit of confidence as well, with everyone talking about him getting a world title soon and I didn’t think there was much difference in us.”

On Cox’s fearsome power, ‘Cool Hand’ admitted that “he hits hard – but I was catching them. That’s the funny thing, my defence improved when you feel the shots coming through. Sometimes you neglect it when you’re getting away with it, but I wouldn’t have gotten away with it with him!” he laughed.

The spar was part of Keeler’s preparations for his headline bout at the National Stadium next Saturday against former English champion Lewis Taylor.

Featuring on the Red Corner Promotions ‘Unfinished Business’ undercard in Dublin will be Lynn Harvey, Eric Donovan, Chris Blaney, Craig O’Brien, Stevie Collins, Connor Coyle, Jay Byrne, Allan Phelan, and debutant Thomas Finnegan.

Tickets for ‘Unfinished Business’ cost €40 (unreserved) and €60 (ringside) and are available from the boxers involved on the bill.

Eric Donovan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 2 of the Irish Boxing Show:

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: