Saturday 7 December 2019

Nevin's bone 'sticking out of leg' after attack with nail-studded bat

John Joe Nevin.
John Joe Nevin.
John Joe Nevin

Cormac Murphy

OLYMPIC boxer John Joe Nevin's bone was "sticking out" of his leg following a brutal attack with a wooden bat studded with nails.

The silver medal-winner's leg was broken in two places and he will now miss a string of prestigious fights, including one in Atlantic City that was scheduled for later this month.

Nevin (24), who is married and has a son, "was attempting to act as a peacemaker" in a dispute between members of his extended family in Co Westmeath when he was attacked, his management company GreenBlood Boxing said.

The incident took place in the Ardleigh estate in Mullingar at about 10.30am on Saturday.

Initial reports had suggested that Nevin was struck with a golf club. However, it is understood that a wooden bat studded with nails was also used.

It is believed Nevin was tackled to the ground by one man and beaten by a number of others. He had recently returned from the US, where he won his first professional fight.

His trainer, Brian McKeown, a town councillor in Cavan, spoke with the boxer just after the attack.

The "bone was sticking out" of his leg at that stage, he told the Irish Independent.

"He went along to mediate and try to get things settled and the attack took place.

"With the weapons that were used... they weren’t exactly ornaments."

Mr McKeown continued: "It's a long road back but he has always been a champion and he will overcome this. I hope we will have him back boxing from nine months to a year. It's in the hands of the surgeons."

Mr McKeown said Nevin suffered "two clean breaks", adding: "They (the medics) tell us it is a lot more promising and he has age on his side."

Speaking on Morning Ireland this morning on RTE Radio One, he said that as soon as John Joe is able to travel he will by brought to the States.

"John Joe has been a fighter all his life, he’s overcome bigger battles than this in his life. I honestly feel that he has the character and the commitment to overcome it," he added.

"His management seem to think the same. Plans have been put in motion for when he’s released from hospital and he’s fit to travel.

"He is going to America for rehabilitation but any way you look at it, it’s a major setback.

"We were due to leave for Atlantic City last weekend. There is nothing we can do about it now but battle on and pull the lad through it and get him back into a mode where he is able to box again.

"It will be an uphill struggle but I have every confidence in the lad. He’s an exceptional young man."

He will undergo surgery today on his injuries.


Nevin's fellow Olympic boxing medallist Katie Taylor said on Twitter she was "so sorry to hear of the awful news". She added: "Wishing you a speedy recovery. Keep your chin up."

Former world champion fighter Barry McGuigan said: "Hope you recover soon, Champ, and get back on your feet."

Nevin's management team is expected to take him to the US to aid his rehabilitation.

Mr McKeown said Nevin, the first Traveller to win an Olympic medal, "was the wrong man at the wrong place".

He added: "He was trying to get the thing settled. He was trying to stop the dispute from escalating. He went along to mediate in an extended family row and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"He had just returned from the US a few weeks ago. They (US promoters) are mad to get him out there. There was a lot in the pipeline, including a fight in Mullingar in the summer."

Nevin, who claimed silver in the bantamweight division at the London 2012 Olympics, has been "fighting all his life and he will beat this", Mr McKeown said.

"We're both shattered. I can understand people being jealous and envious but Jesus Christ, to do something like that. He had just returned from Boston. We had been out there training for months and months.

"Everywhere he went, the impression he created... It was just a matter of time that it happened for him."

The fact that Nevin was attacked in his "own back yard and involved his extended family is beyond belief", he said.

GreenBlood said the boxer was gutted that his career had been slowed by the attack but vowed to come back stronger.

"Our schedule has been thrown off by a few months but hopefully we'll have John Joe back working hard by mid-summer and have him fighting again stateside in September," Tom Moran of GreenBlood said.

A garda spokesman said officers were called to the scene of a dispute involving a number of individuals outside a house at Ardleigh Crescent, Mullingar, at 11.30am on Saturday.

Two men, including John Joe Nevin and a woman in her 20s were admitted to hospital with injuries. A man in his 20s was later arrested by gardai and detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, at Mullingar Garda Station.

He was released on Saturday night and a file is being prepared for the DPP.

Nevin turned professional last October and got his career in the paid ranks off to a winning start on St Patrick's Day by beating Alberto Candelaria.

Irish Independent

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