“That’s a fight I’d love” – Niall Kennedy aiming for another title

Niall Kennedy [8(5)-0] won the first title of his career last weekend in Boston, and the Wexford heavyweight is already eyeing a second.

Boom Boom Baz stopped Jesse Barboza in the eighth and final round to claim the Massachusetts State title at the House of Blues on a Murphys Boxing card, and immediately put himself in line for a shot at another title.

The state title makes Kennedy the mandatory challenger for the New England title currently held by Alexis Santos, and this is a route which the Gorey Garda would like to pursue.

“Barboza has fought for the New England title and he brought Santos the distance. That’s a fight that I’d love, whether we get it or not is another story.”

“That makes me the mandatory for his title. There is a pathway there and hopefully I get it.”

Kennedy believes a fight with the Lawrence, MA, puncher would be a tough one and another step up. He described how “Santos has a high workrate, he’s smaller, so he’s tricky, but it’s definitely a fight I’d like.”

27 year old Santos was formerly promoted by Murphys Boxing and defended his New England belt for the first time back in November, going the full eight with Barboza and winning a unanimous [78:74 x2, 79:73] decision.

The pair also have another common opponent in Arthur Saribekian, whom Santos stopped in the third to win the belt back in October 2015, before Kennedy scored a first round knockout over the same opponent four months later.

Santos has been defeated once before, retiring in the third round against Daniel Martz after injuring his ankle following an opening round knockdown in June 2014. He would avenge this defeat via seventh round knockout less than a year later.

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie