Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Delighted Nevin vows to make push for Olympic gold

John Joe Nevin now has his sights set on Olympic gold after returning home yesterday with a World Championships bronze medal hanging around his neck.

Nevin, the new hero of Irish boxing, made it clear that he would not be swapping the Irish vest for a shot at the professional ranks. London 2012 is the 20-year-old's target.

The youngest ever Irishman to win a medal at the World Championships knows offers may come his way but he is adamant that he has much more to offer in the amateur sport.

“I'm taking a few weeks off now and then I'll be back in full training for the National Senior Championships and then the European Championships,” said Nevin.

“All I am interested in is the Olympics — the professional game isn't even in my head right now.

“I missed out on a medal in Beijing last year — I only lost out to the eventual gold medallist, Enkhbat Badar-Uugan from Mongolia, in the second series — but, pleaseGod, I'm getting better by the year and by the time London comes around I'll be ready for anybody in the world.

“It's been a fantastic 12 months or so, getting to the Olympic Games and only going out there to the eventual gold medallist and then winning a bronze medal at my first World Championships.

“The hardest fight was probably the quarter-final against the Chinese guy, Yu Gu. It was certainly the most frustrating, because it was so, so tactical. The semi-final against the Russian, Eduardo Abzalimov, was also a hard fight because it it a physically and mentally a tough one, but it was still tough to lose it by just a single point.

“It could have gone either way. I can't say I got a particularly bad decision, but if I had got it by a point, well, I don't think he could have said he was robbed either.

“I'm now in the top four in the world and I'm really looking forward to the future. I was one punch away from making the final. I'm in the top four in the world and maybe even the top two.

“Next time I want to make history and become the first Irishman to make a final.”

“I owe a special thanks to my coach at the Cavan Boxing Club, Brian McKeown. The entire High Performance Programme — and especially the head coach, Billy Walsh — have helped me tremendously, but Brian has to get a lot of credit too because he was the one who took me under his wing from when I was 13 or 14 years of age.

“When I went to Brian in the beginning, I was that bad that I didn't know my left hand from my right one. He brought me on a hell of a lot.”

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