Niall Kennedy agrees with Dean Walsh pro decision

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Niall Kennedy wholeheartedly supports his fellow Wexford man Dean Walsh’s decision to focus on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and ignore the lure of the pro game.

The St Ibarr’s/St Joseph’s light welter was on the receiving end of some rotten luck this year, dubiously losing to Cuban-Azeri #1 Lorenzo Sotomayor at the European Olympic qualifier before injuring his hand and being defeated in his opening bout at the World Olympic qualifier.

Understandably Walsh was momentarily tempted to ditch the vest, but he confirmed on social media that he will instead target the Tokyo Games, where he will be 26 and one of the leaders of the Irish team – should he hold off the advances of Sean McComb, Wayne Kelly, and James Cleary, as well as young guns such as Jason Harty, Conor Ivors, and Aidan Walsh.

Fellow Yellow Belly Kennedy agrees that this is the right choice and told that “Dean texted me asking what my thoughts were [about turning pro].”

“I’ve known Dean since he was a baby, I’m friends with his grandad Liam.”

“I told him I thought he should stick with the IABA, he’s still young and he has that structure there.”

Boom Boom Baz made the plunge into the pros himself last year, but explains that his situation was different as “I was 31, and I had just lost to Dean Gardiner [in the 2015 National Elite semi-finals].”

“I had nowhere to go really so it was worth taking the risk.”

“Dean is only young and is the number one at his weight in the country.”

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

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: