No “Leprechaun Style” but Davey Oliver Joyce can’t wait for pro debut

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There’ll be no hat, but Davey Oliver Joyce can’t wait for the occasion that will be his professional debut.

The Rio Olympian debuts on the ‘Battle of Belfast’ card at the Waterfront Hall on Saturday night, live on BoxNation, and while he has plenty of experience, Joyce is excited for a new experience.

With three seasons of five-round World Series of Boxing experience, three eight-round fights on the AIBA Pro Boxing circuit, and a style that screams professional boxing, there is hardly an Irish fighter around more suited to the game.

However the Mullingar lightweight is promising a different Davey and believes the new venture will be different to anything he’s experienced in the ring before.

Speaking to todal at the final pre-fight press conference, Joyce stated that “I had a great camp. The six weeks flew in.”

“I’m excited, I can’t wait to do it.

“Even though I’ve done APB and WSB, this is different. I’m so excited.”

“The gloves in the APB were 10 ounce, but they had loads of padding. Just listening to Paddy [Barnes] talking about the eight ounce gloves, I can’t wait to get them on.”

“In the amateurs I wasn’t the biggest puncher on the team, I wasn’t a big knockout guy, but with my style of fighting, I’m a guy that will be hunting you, in your face, exhausting you, and hopefully the knockouts will come along the way.”

A fixture of the High Performance Unit for over a decade, Joyce is loving the more individualised training at Pete Taylor’s gym in Bray – and feels he is improving quickly.

The Westmeath boxer explained that “it’s more quiet, more lonesome, you’re on your own the whole time. It’s just one-on-one sessions, but I prefer that, I’m getting one-on-one stuff with Pete all the time.”

“Training is different, sparring is different, you’re doing longer rounds, longer runs. Even after sparring, after four or five rounds, in the amateur’s you’d jump out and be done, whereas here you’re doing two rounds finishing off on the bag. I’m enjoying it.”

“My boxing, me and Pete had a chat about it, it has come on loads. My strength and conditioning too. I’m feeling like a different boxer now, even before I get in the ring.”

On Saturday Joyce faces Hungarian Gabor Kovacs [26(5)-9(5)-1]. While the 20 year old’s record is somewhat padded, he has drawn in a Hungarian title fight and, standing at almost six foot tall, usually operates at light welter, if not above. Indeed back in 2015 he was stopped in the third round by light middleweight world title challenger Predrag Radosevic.

A relatively testing first foe, Joyce noted how “I’m looking forward to it. We want the best. We want to go fast with this, so there’s no point waiting around and boxing nobodies, we said to get the best guy we could get for the first fight and they picked him up.”

A quiet, unassuming family man, Joyce doesn’t have the outgoing personality of some fighters, but the glamour of pro boxing still appeals.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he admitted. “The walk in, the music, the whole lot of it. It’ll be exciting. The shorts, I can’t wait to put them on, and I cant wait for the fans to be cheering me on because there’s a load coming up.”

When asked will he have a Mick Conlan-style top hat he laughed and promised that “there’ll be no Leprechaun style!”

LISTEN: Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill speak to Luke Keeler and Paddy Barnes on Episode 6 of The Irish Boxing Show:

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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: