By Jonny Stapleton
John Joe Nevin has already secured his Olympic berth and like Michael Conlan and Darren O’Neill doesn’t need to win the National Elite Irish title to keep his London 2012 dream alive.
That however by no means, means the Cavan fighter doesn’t want to retain his crown and he stressed he has approached the showcase tournament of the domestic calendar as if it was a major international competition.
“You have to go in and perform in these championships and it is always important to win your own championships. I have fought on the world stage but when you come here to this finals you have to train just as hard and approach it the same,” Nevin said after his semi final win last week.
Nevin secured his spot in the 56kg final by via a single punch. The Olympian trailed going into the last round and pulled it out of the bag sending Sean McComb to the canvas to eventually win by a single point.
“It was a great shot,“ he said of the knockout. “It was a good right hand left hook. I knew as soon as it landed it was a knockdown. I just started walking away I thought the ref would stop it.”
Nevin now faces Michael Nevin in the 56kg decider, but whilst some have been impressed with his Portlaoise counterpart the Cavan BC man thinks last Fridays outing was the true final.
The two time World championship bronze medallist praised McComb for giving him a tough test but did reserve some criticism for his semi final opponent.
Nevin claimed McComb was afraid to go and win the fight and instead tried to con the ref into giving Nevin a public warning in the last round.
“My coach begged not to be hit to the body. We were worried he was going to try and get a public warning against me. In the third round he was just looking for it. He had the fight at his mercy in the last round and he was too afraid to win it. He went on the back foot and any form of contact around the body and he was going to go down. He was telling me before the fight he was going to luck for the public warning,” Nevin added.
“That was the final I think. He was awkward and it was close. It is nice to have that one under my belt and I am looking to move on now. Tonight I didn’t perform great but I knew it would be tough. I can’t take anything from Sean he was tough.”