Monday 16 September 2019

Garda Niall Kennedy hoping to extend heavyweight unbeaten record in Massachusetts

Niall Kennedy
Niall Kennedy

Sean McGoldrick

Wicklow-based Garda Niall Kennedy is back in the ring on Saturday night in the USA as he continues his other career as a professional fighter.

The 35-year-old Gorey native is unbeaten in his 14 pro fights in the heavyweight division.

The majority of his contests have been staged in the Boston area where he is backed by Ken Casey, who also leads a successful double life as a musician with Irish-American Celtic-punk band, Dropkick Murphys, and works as a boxing promoter.

Casey's boxing company will jointly promote three-time world amateur medalist Joe Ward along with Lou DiBella when the Moate light heavyweight makes his professional debut on the east coast of the United States this autumn.

Eight of Kennedy's 13 pro wins have been achieved via knock-out and the only blot on his CV is a majority draw against an American heavyweight, Joel Caudie, in June 2018.

He has since bounced back with two wins including one of the under card of a Katie Taylor fight in the TD Garden in Boston in late 2018. He trains in Dublin under coach Packie Collins.

He faces 37-year-old Devin Vargas from Ohio who has a decent 20-5-0 pro record with eight of his wins coming via knock out. But his career appears in terminal decline as four of those five defeats came in his last seven fights.

Vargas' main claim to fame is that in his last professional fight in March 2018, he faced current world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr in California.

It was a short engagement, however, as Ruiz – who fashioned a sensational win over the unbeaten title holder Anthony Joshua in Madison Square Garden in May – knocked him out in the first round.

Kennedy, who has sparred with Joshua at his training base in the UK, ought to keep his unbeaten record against Vargas and move up the world rankings in the heavyweight division. He currently sits in 125th position.

The Kennedy-Vargas fight takes place in the MGM Springfield, Massachusetts in the early hours on Sunday morning (Irish time).

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