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Collins Jnr on course


Steve Collins Jnr (right) will have his father in his corner tonight

Steve Collins Jnr (right) will have his father in his corner tonight

Steve Collins Jnr (right) will have his father in his corner tonight

Tonight in Lewiston, Maine, Steve Collins Jnr takes another step towards emulating the world title success of his father Steve, the original Celtic Warrior.

Collins Jnr made his pro debut at cruiserweight in Dundalk three years ago with a win.

He still had the look of a professional rugby player, having been at Leinster and Wasps. But Collins was serious about his boxing career and shed bulk.

His record is 7-0-1 and with knockouts in his last three fights, it looks like Collins Jnr is developing his power.

It proved to be a tricky transition from one sporting code to another for Collins with injuries slowing progress. In his second fight, he ripped the tendons from the knuckles of his hand. Later, he tore his shoulder off the bone.

With his father urging him to be patient, Collins Jnr recuperated, studied the game and worked on his fitness outside the ring.

Now managed by Murphy's Boxing in Boston, he's back on track. Tonight's fight will be his third this year.

"Things are progressing really quickly for him now," says coach Paschal Collins. "His name attracts attention and he's building a following in the Boston area and the plan is to keep him busy."

Tonight's opponent is the vastly more experienced Mexican Jose Humberto Corral (19-21-0), who won't be overawed, having fought Peter Quillin, Rigoberto Alvarez and other title winners.

"Steve's 26 and is moving up now," says Packie. "He was a dedicated rugby professional and has been around boxing all his life. He's been sparring with top fighters including Stephen Ormond, Frank Buglioni, Gary O'Sullivan and Niall Kennedy."

The Collins name is well known to boxing fans in Boston. The former world champion, Steve Snr, turned pro with the Petronelli brothers and, while based in Massachusetts, fought on bills with Micky Ward and Freddie Roach, who later worked his corner.

Steve Snr will be in his son's corner tonight.

Steve Jnr, known as 'The Wolfhound, is promoted by Ken Casey, boss of Murphy's Boxing. "We're all excited to see where this can go," says the man who also plays bass with Celtic punk band The Dropkick Murphys.

"He'll be fighting again in September," adds Paschal. "After another seven or eight fights, he'll be challenging for his first title. Expect big things from him next year."