Climbing the League Table – Niall Kennedy has big names on his radar


If Niall Kennedy [11(7)-0-1] was an English football team, currently, he would be a Brighton & Hove Albion.

A small, somewhat unfashionable side that recently enough made a big jump up to the big leagues.

Last year Kennedy scored a big upset over the Lou DiBella-promoted Alexis Santos but he doesn’t want that brilliant night in Connecticut to be seen as an FA Cup upset.

The Wexford heavyweight has big ambitions and wants to start moving up the table – starting this Saturday night in Boston.

The Gorey Garda boxes on the Matchroom USA DAZN card at the TD Garden where he takes on Brendan Barrett [7(5)-0-2] in a six-round contest.

Kennedy sees the clash and the occassion as a platform and intends to put in a big performance in front of the likes of Eddie Hearn to vault himself into contention for fights with some big names.

Ahead of the fight in America, his tenth, the fresh 34-year-old told Irish-Boxing.com that “everything is the same, the only difference is that I really want to impress on this one.”

“I’ve always wanted to impress because, the fact is, I don’t have a massive amateur pedigree, I didn’t have people shouting or roaring about me so I had to go out and win my fights.”

“I’m trying to constantly impress Ken [Casey, promoter] and Paschal [Collins, manager and coach], I have to keep improving or it’s pointless what I’m doing.”

“I didn’t have a contract until after the Santos fight, I’ve had to work to get here.”

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A win on Saturday night at the home of the Boston Bruins and Celtics could, Kennedy hopes, lead to some fights.

“We’re here now and, with a good performance, it could open a few doors,” he mused.

“There’s fantastic heavyweights out there – Joshua beat Povetkin and Wilder is fighting Fury, that’s the Champions League places there, I’m looking to get inside the Top 10 and start upsetting people.”

“It’s a massive opportunity for both of us, he’s unbeaten, I’m unbeaten, you would hope that this would set up bigger fights for the winner. If I’d have been told in 2015 that I’d be in this position I wouldn’t have believed you.”

“It probably sounds silly, but the likes of Jarrell Miller or Adam Kownacki, they’re on my radar.”

The Murphys Boxing man mentions the larger-than-life Miller and is more than confident of taming the super super heavyweight – but is not one to call for fights.

“I’d be ready for him now, if Paschal said to me ‘you’re fighting him next week’ there’d be no problem,” he states with confidence before clarifying.

“I’ll never call anyone out though, I hate it. The way Klitschko and AJ went about it, that respectful stuff, that’s better. I think they’ll be able to look back and won’t cringe in years to come.”

“I’ve a little man, I don’t want to be embarrassing him when he’s growing up!”

Joshua hopes to fight in Dublin one day

Outlining his more immediate plans, Kennedy described how “I’ll win [v Barrett] then hopefully get the IBA World title, then get into one of the Top 15 World Rankings, and then, who knows?”

“Maybe one of them [big names] will want to have a fight in Ireland!”

“We’re nearly a year on from the Santos fight which is probably my biggest win but, looking back at it now, it’s definitely not my best performance. There were so many things in it that I wouldn’t do now.”

Headline Photo Credit: Eoin Lúc Ó Ceallaigh

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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