Those in attendance at the press conference to release the line up for the Prizefighter—style tournament all presented cases and arguments as to why one or the other would win, but most quickly back tracked and claimed eventual winner ignorance.
There was, however, one section of the Irish boxing family adamant they knew who would be collecting the €25,000 cheque and mandatory status for the Irish middleweight title on March 3rd.
A host of fighters regulars are all backing Roy Sheahan to claim victory despite his lack of pro experience.
Great competitive group but if in form Roy Sheehan a shoe in for me with the format to be used. https://t.co/ZkiRf0iWKr
— Darren O’Neill (@DarrenONeil) January 10, 2018
There’s your winner right there
— Gary Cully (@BoxerCully) January 3, 2018
Indeed, while the St Michael’s Athy fighter was talking to the press Declan Geraghty interrupted loudly proclaiming the Kildare man was “the most dangerous fighter in the tournament.”
Sheahan, who will be required to debut before the tournament at the National Stadium, seems appreciative of the support and the backing, but admits he is also annoyed by those suggesting he is a clear favourite.
“Well, it does, and it sort of annoys me in a way… Because I haven’t been boxing the last 15 months,” Sheehan expalined.
The four-time National Senior Champion was keen to point out while his seven rivals for the cheque and TV spotlight were building their records he was building in a more literal sense.
The Kildare favourite also claims his absence from competitive action negates any advantage he may have had from being the fighter with recent three round experience.
“These lads – these are seven top pros: their life is boxing. My life is on a building site – groundworks – d’you know what I mean?”
“And I’m coming out of that into this unknown, now, and we’re like, ‘Who’s going to win this?’ I don’t know. But the people backing me, I appreciate it. It’s good. But it is a very hard task ahead of me. It’s going to be very tough. It’s going to be the toughest few weeks of my life,” he continued before shooting down the ‘used to the format’ talk.
“I have a disadvantage!” stated Sheahan.
“My disadvantage would be that I’m out of action for so long. Like, I’m only coming off a building site since Saturday, d’you know? I didn’t know the week before last that I was coming into this – I only found out last week.”
“I got a bit of leave off work from my boss, Dan Curtis, which is helping me out. Only for that, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. So I’m going to take it with both hands, I’m going to train as hard as I can, and get back up to where I was.”
It’s a humble approach from the man deemed one of Team Ireland’s biggest ever messers.
However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t confident. The EU gold medal winner has proved himself a stand out amateur and even has comeback qualities having returned to the game to win the Seniors at a second weight at short notice – and Sheehan makes it clear he hasn’t entered to make up the numbers.
“Even going into this, or if I was going into a world championship fight against I don’t know who, if I was to train for a few weeks, I’d always be confident that I was going to win.
“Like, I’m not going to take time off work and train just to lose. I’m a boxer – I boxed all my life – and everything I went into, I went into to win.
“I want to win this thing. I hope I do well,” he continued before stressing he has as much a chance of winning as his fellow seven hopefuls.
“If I trained just as hard as anyone else over the next few weeks, we’re all the same – we’re all equal – and it’s just a matter of who wants it more on the night. And as I said, I’m not giving up work for nothing.”