Niall Kennedy opponent shows danger of judging a book by its cover

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Niall Kennedy [4(2)-0] was slightly worried when he saw who his opponent was for his fight in America this Saturday.

Boom Boom Baz faces the seemingly unremarkable Willie Palms [10(5)-10(4)-1] at the weekend in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on a Murphy’s Boxing card and he admitted to that “I was very very surprised when I saw that he was my opponent for a six-round fight.”

A quick glance at the 43 year old’s record didn’t inspire confidence for Kennedy. Palms had an impressive start to life as a pro between 1997 and 2002, racking up good wins and appearing on two Shane Mosley undercards at Madison Square Garden and Caesar’s Palace.

However the New Jersey heavyweight slipped into journeyman mode with a string of losses and last fought in 2011.

Wexford’s Kennedy was understandably hesitant seeing this, assuming that Palms was a down on his luck former fighter, making an ill-advised return to the ring for a quick buck.

A quick phone call to Murphy’s put these worries to bed however and Kennedy learnt that in actual fact he will be facing “by far the best opponent of my career.”

Rather than an out of shape faded fighter, Palms is actually a step up for the Gorey boxer.

Kennedy explained that his upcoming opponent is a former (1997) U.S National amateur champion, and his five year absence from the ring is due to him taking a financially rewarding career as a high-level sparring partner, and indeed he represents something of a sink-or-swim acid test for the popular Garda.

Reassured, Kennedy now knows that “I can’t take anything for granted, and I’ve been told that if I don’t bring my A-game I will get beaten.”

“He’s a big man, six foot four, and he does everything very well.”

“I need to impress here to be asked back.”

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: