Saturday 24 February 2018

Boxing: Nevin debut can't come too quickly

John Joe Nevin
John Joe Nevin

John O'Brien

Despite some mutterings to the contrary, it's hard to see the downside to John Joe Nevin signing a professional contract with Amir Khan's fledgling company, Super Fight Promotions. For all the inexperience Khan has in the area, the benefits for Nevin of being, apart from Khan himself obviously, the stable's most senior fighter are obvious. On every level it appears to have been a mature, well thought-out decision.

By all accounts, Nevin had several offers to mull over. All the major British promoters seemed anxious for a piece of him while he had travelled to Russia and was believed to be close to signing with a major German promoter. Unless you wish to question Nevin's intelligence, however, and the advice of his loyal club trainer, Brian McKeown, we should accept that he has made the best choice in terms of his career.

It goes without saying, of course, that Nevin's loss to the Irish amateur boxing scene will be keenly felt and that Billy Walsh, Ireland head coach, would have done everything in his power to convince him to stay. They'll cope, though. From the start, the IABA's high-performance unit was imbued with a strong junior ethos in the knowledge that the system needed to be robust enough to absorb the blows of top fighters leaving. That investment will stand them in good stead.

It's easy, too, to follow Nevin's thinking. The big nights in amateur boxing, when the sport reaches out beyond its own tight-knit community, are few and far between, at most once a year. The professional game, while full of risk, offers the carrot of greater and more frequent exposure and Nevin has never hid his dream to be a world champion and to represent his family, his town and his community on the highest stage of all.

You might consider professional boxing to be a nasty, profit-driven enterprise but then, surely, the addition of talented, fundamentally decent fighters like Nevin can only help make it a better place.

He makes his debut in Manchester on January 19 and it can't come quickly enough.

Sunday Indo Sport

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