Steve Collins Jr made a shock appearance in an amateur vest yesterday.
The former BUI Celtic and Irish title challenger fought for an Irish select at the Eindhoven Box Cup on Monday.
The Dubliner suffered defeat in the final and came home from a tournament where Team Ireland banked 14 medals in with silver.
Collins isn’t quite the latest pro to return to the amateur game as his first official fight was a professional one and it’s believed Monday’s bout was his first-ever official amateur contest.
The 32-year-old was last seen in the pro ring in November of 2021 losing on points to Nathan Quarless. That Liverpool hosted clash was an out-of-the-blue surprise bout itself, as most believed the cruiserweight had called it a day post stoppage defeat to Cesar Mateo Tapia in Dubai a year and a half before.
Collins has continued to spar in Pete Taylor’s Ballyfermot base and it wouldn’t have been a massive shock if he turned up trying to upset the odds in the away corner of a promotion at any time.
However, it was a huge surprise to see him fight in the amateurs. It remains to be seen if the former pro rugby player will continue to fight amateur and if he enters the National Elite Championships.
Collins joined a growing list of Irish fighters with pro experience fighting amateur of late. Regan Buckley made the transition back in 2018 and went on to win European Games bronze. The Bray flyweight then retired from the game altogether before competing for bare-knuckle with BKB.
Michael McCallister did it a year earlier getting amateur status back at the fourth time of asking in June 2017, going on to fight in the Ulster Elite’s where he lost via split decision to Karol Dlugosz at Dockers club, 2017 Belfast.
Sligo’s James Lynch made the move more recently, defeating Peter Vrinceanu to be crowned Irish Defence Forces Champion and Dee Sullivan has been selected to fight in this Summer’s Commonwealth Games for Team NI. James Cahill, a former stable mate of Buckley has also returned to the amateur game.