Friday 24 January 2020

Olympic hero John Joe Nevin turns pro

Boxer John Joe Nevin before a press conference where he announced that he was turning professional
Boxer John Joe Nevin before a press conference where he announced that he was turning professional

Eamon Carr

Olympic silver medalist John Joe Nevin today announced that he has joined the professional ranks.

In the Grafton Suite at the Westbury Hotel in Dublin, Nevin explained, "This is the next step for me. I've done everything I wanted to do in the amateur business. If I could change the colour of the Olympic medal I would but that's done and now it's time to move on and hopefully bring back a world title to Ireland."

Nevin has signed a management deal with a business sports partnership that involves GreenBlood Boxing from Philadelphia and Berkley Sports & Media from London.

Tom Moran of GreenBlood, a former manager of Tim Witherspoon, said, "This is the beginning of a golden age of Irish boxing. The Irish boxing marketplace in America is untapped. We believe JohnJoe is perhaps the best fighter in Irish history and our vision is to develop a team of Irish talent in a creative and innovative way."

Moran is aiming high. "One of JohnJoe's dream is to win a world title and defend that title in Croke Park," he said. "It's our responsibility to bring that dream alive."

Nevin, who'll box at featherweight, admitted that he'd been inundated with offers following his displays at the London Olympics. "I gave myself time to think about it," he said. "But the buzz of winning medals is gone now because I've won everything. I need something new to go after and this is it."

Helping Nevin make the transition will be his Cavan BC coach Brian McKeown, who Nevin inisists on having supervise his training. He's not going to be overawed by the demands of the professional game.

"I've been in boxing for fifty years," said McKeown. "And I've worked with some of the best coaches and the best boxers this country's ever produced. I've my own way of operating and I find it's very easy to work with good boxers and get the best out of them. I'm always watching and learning and it's great to be living the dream."

Nevin who's also had plenty of experience in the World Series of Boxing insists his style won't change. "It's going to hit-and-not-be-hit," he said "I'm not a brawler."

"If I get to be a worlds champion there'll be nothing better than to get revenge on the golden boy of England, Luke Campbell (Olympic gold medal winner in Dublin over a 12-round fight," said Nevin. "There was only one fight ever in Croke Park and Muhammad Ali was involved in it. I want to be the second to fight there. It would mean the world to me."

While GreenBlood's plans are to build Nevin's profile in the States, Moran plans to stage some major bouts in Ireland. "We're going to insist on at least one show a year in Ireland," he said. "Boxing is a very tough business and needs TV involvement but we definitely want him fighting in Ireland."

Nevin says he's ready to rumble but understands that he may not make his professional debut until the new year. "Negotiating a really good promotional deal on JohnJoe's behalf is going to take a little bit of time," cautioned Moran.

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