Niall Kennedy survives judo scare to set himself up for another World Title undercard

Niall Kennedy was slammed onto the canvas on Saturday night – illegally – but recovered to score a win and is now set for another fight on a big American card.

The Wexford heavyweight was in action on the big Matchroom USA show in Boston where he dropped and outpointed mixed martial artist Brendan Barrett over six rounds and is now in line to feature on the Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury WBC heavyweight title undercard at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles on December 1st.

It was a scrappy fight at the TD Garden, with all the clean work coming from Kennedy who sent the American to the canvas in the fifth round but found himself on the floor in the second. However, while Kennedy scored his knockdown with an overhand right, Barrett’s way of getting the Gorey Garda down had to be seen to be believed.

A ‘judo throw’ was the way most described the funny – albeit dangerous – moment which was not ruled a knockdown and saw Barrett receive a stern warning although no point deduction.

“It was impressive, wasn’t it?” laughed New England champion Kennedy afterwards. “I was panicking — I thought there was a choke coming after. I didn’t know what was going on.”

“I think relief is the word I had when I landed – that I didn’t break my arm, that he didn’t choke me out, I think that was his intention.”

Looking back at the fight, Kennedy noted how “he was unorthodox. I’ve a dead right arse cheek, and I don’t think you’re supposed to have one of them in boxing!”

“He was big, rough… Jesus, he was wider than he was tall so he was physically strong.”

“I can’t explain some of the things he was doing, he was trying to trip a couple of times.”

“It definitely wasn’t pretty, I’d say, but I got out of it, I got the win, and I’ve no injuries, thank God. I could go again next week if I had to.”

“We move on, anyway. It definitely wasn’t pretty but I’m not pretty, so maybe that explains it!”

“Once I got out unscathed I was happy enough.”

It is a massive relief that Kennedy did emerge without injury as it was then revealed on IFL TV that the 34-year-old has an offer on the table for a fight on the Wilder-Fury card on Showtime and BT Sport PPV at the start of December.

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That fight, should it be agreed, will take place on the opposite coast of America to where he has built up a substantial following. A big opportunity, no doubt, but ‘Boom Boom Baz’ was still keen to pay tribute to his Boston following.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “I had fantastic support — my support is getting better and better.”

“Thanks to Ken Casey [promoter] and Packie [Collins, trainer] and Murphys Boxing, and Matchroom now for letting me on a show like this.”

“I think I showed I’m a ticket-seller, my crowd is after improving, so hopefully I’ll get back on one. Maybe a little bit of a prettier fight the next time.”


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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: