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Middleweight Marine Jimmy Kelleher hopes to continue making a name for himself

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Not many Irish boxing fans will know of Scranton. Some may know it as the setting for the US version of The Office, while the boxing anoraks among us will note how it was the host city for the first edition of the Women’s Boxing World Championships 2001. However, in the small city in Pennsylvania there is a boxing club called The Irish Boxing Club.

One of the stars of this gym is a 21 year old middleweight by the name of Jimmy Kelleher. Of Cork and Mayo descent, Kelleher fights this weekend in his second professional contest and spoke to Irish-Boxing.com ahead of the clash.

Unsurprisingly for an Irish-American from the North East of the country, the youngster cites Micky Ward as one of his biggest influences, describing how “I try and use bits and pieces of his style to create my own.”

Trained by former World title challenger Irish Gene Reed and Nate Davis, Kelleher definitely isn’t a pure brawler, and he explains how “as an amateur I was 74-10 and have been fighting since I was nine years old.”

“I am a boxer-puncher who can stand and trade when needs be.”

“I always wanted to turn pro though, I was just tired of the amateurs and wanted more.”

“My short term goal is to build my record and start to make a name for myself. The ultimate goal is to be a World champion.”

Still only 21, not only is Kelleher a rising boxing prospect, he is also a member of the US Marine Corp and will soon become a Corporal. He acknowledges that “it can be hard at times with training and keeping my team on track, but that’s part of what makes me different.”

On Saturday Kelleher fights at The Lodge in his home town in his second professional bout following a knockout debut win over Hansen Castillo. He isn’t focused on his opponent and freely admits that “I don’t know anything about him but my trainers do. My trainers watch the video and coach me the way they see fit for the opponent.”

“I don’t watch video or study – I fight.”

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