“I don’t want to go out like that’ – heavyweight Niall Kennedy to fight on

Niall Kennedy [13(8)-2(2)] has confirmed he will fight on.

The Wexford heavy’s future came into question after he suffered defeat to Alan ‘The Savage’ Babic during Fight Camp.

However, the Gorey native says he couldn’t go out on such a sour note or on such a performance.

“I just want to make sure when I look back that last fight doesn’t define me because that wasn’t even a shell of me or what I can do,” said Kennedy when speaking to Boxing Updates.

The ever honest Gorey Gardai admits he froze on the night and struggled with the whole Fight Camp setting, even the sense of occasion. The 36-year-old also admits his confidence has taken a sever hammering.

However, upon reflection and having talked to people around him, Kennedy feels circumstances outside of talent are reason behind the reverse.

“The occasion was worse for me that the fight. The whole bubble, not having anyone to talk to really to take my mind off things. It all accumulated to a very very flat, cold performance. I could never understand the saying ‘I froze’, but I literally did freeze.

“It’s a performance that has knocked my confidence to bits to be honest. I didn’t perform at 30 percent.”

Kennedy, who also revealed the emotional scars were far worse than any physical ones, claims if he had operated at his best, produced a performance and still lost he would have considered hanging them up.

“I’m 36 so there were a lot of questions ‘will that be it’ … If I had of performed and Alan Babic beat me that would have been it.

“I only want to box to see where I am relevant, but the fact i was so fecking bad .. I don’t want to go out like that. And I don’t in a couple of years time my youngfella seeing that and saying ‘oh the minute it got tough you got out’.”

The Celtic Warrior fighter knows there is a form of rebuild needed, but is equally aware such is the landscape in the heavyweight division, that he could be one good win away from another big fight.

Indeed, since the Babic fight there was a Dave Allen offer made, although not with a purse that made sense for a working fighter.

“Down the line I’d like a rematch. I am not a clown, I’m not going to say I deserve a rematch, I deserve nothing. I genuinely believe you make your way in this sport, good wins get you good fights.

“The plan is to get winning, hopefully get back to that level and produce what i know i am capable of.

“I need to get a win next, I have to win my next fight because I don’t ever want to turn into a journey man. I need to get back out, get a win and hopefully open some doors again. There is a massive heavyweight scene in Britain I can tap into. I need to win, get confidence back and get relevant.”

Although he is adamant it was a lack of ability to perform under the lights rather than a discrepancy in talent that proved the difference on the Sky Sporst broadcast clash, Kennedy doesn’t want to take away from the exciting heavyweight.

The fighter, who is reluctant to make excuses, added : “I rate Babic as a fighter and as a man. He is relentless, he is exactly what he says is on the tin. In that regard he is honest as the day is long. He did what he said he was going to do and did everything we expected him to do, I just didn’t perform unfortunately.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]