It may not be the traditional boxing apprenticeship, but it’s a studentship that Jamie Morrissey is confident will allow him to make boxing his trade nonetheless.
The experienced Muay Thai fighter confirmed his conversion to boxing last week after signing pro terms with Boxing Ireland.
The Limerick native follows a lesser trodden path to the pros, migrating from a different combat code rather than graduating up through the amateur ranks.
Morrissey admits the route he has taken may not have best educated him in the sweet science, but he is confident it gave him tools to enable a successful career.
He argues his Muay Thai past has schooled him in elements of fighting other early days pros haven’t done any home work in as of yet.
The ticket selling Treaty man warns he comes to the pro ranks with a Masters Degree in true grit having written a thesis on pressure.
They are two qualities he is confident will stand to him in the early stages in particular.
“I tell you were my advantages come in….. I am no stranger to pressure. No matter what kind of fights or situation Stephen or Boxing Ireland put me in my first four or five fights, it’s not going compare to the pressure of being over in The Strand Hotel defending my Irish title in front of the whole city – and I mean the whole city in terms of my demographic,” the articulate soon to debut pro told Irish-boxing.com.
“They can’t show me anything in my first five fights that can compare to that, or compare to four man tournament finals in front of a couple of thousand people, or stadiums shows in front of thousands in Thailand.
“I’m no stranger to that kind of pressure and I was thrown straight in at the deep end, immediately. I have an advantage there,” he adds before pointing out he has been living a pro life for a number of years.
“I also put my degree aside at 22 and have been training full time since. I have banged out a scary amount of fights in two years, so I come fit and ready too.”
The levels of ‘brutal violence’ Muay Thai has exposed Morrissey to may also benefit him in his pro career.
“Technically I can’t say the boxing element of Muay Thai has assisted me in boxing, it would be unfair to say that, but it has given me that grit.
“Ask Edward Donovan, who I spar, he will tell you my fighting spirit is one of my best fighting attributes and that comes from Thai boxing.
“It’s a brutal violent sport. It’s stand in the pocket and fight till someone drops. I haven’t been hit in boxing sparring with anything that compares close to an elbow or a knee.”
While dealing with pressure and taking punishment are elements Morrissey is quite capable of dealing with, they are not things he believes he will have to face early doors.
The fighter, whose first ambition is to get to 5-0 as quick as he can, claims he will be a different more technical animal in the boxing ring than the Muay Thai arena.
“I’m not this mindless killer when it comes to boxing,” he continues.
“I sit behind the jab and I can move. I am excited to show the fans that. There are things to learn, but boxing suits my style and me. I prefer to move with elegance and the sweet science element.
“I’m enjoying that now, because there wasn’t that much room for elegance in Muay Thai. It’s who is the tougher man, you stand in the pocket and fight. It’s still a chess game, but not to the extent of boxing. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I reckon through some fights in boxing without getting touched. Your not going ever not get touched in Muay Thai.”
Morrissey manages to hold himself in confident fashion without stepping into cocky realms.
That belief he can compete in the boxing ring comes from his time sparring the likes of the talented Donovan brothers Paddy and Edward as well as Frank Warren prospect Jason Harty.
“I tell you what, working with and being around Edward and Paddy [Donovan], Jason [Harty] as well as Gugu and Peaches [Donovan] has been invaluable. There is so much experience and knowledge there.
“Edward in particular has been urging me to turn over. He has the humility to stay back after a good spar and praise me. He has been telling me non stop to turn over, he reckons my style will suit it a lot.
“I got loads of confidence from sparring, more so from going to other gyms to spar. When you spar someone who has a record or some good wins and you do well, that gives you confidence.
“It was slow process. It wasn’t an over night thing. Going back a year ago I started to spar some of these elite operators and then Shaun Kelly came into my life. He started to tailor my style toward boxing and I feel I’m ready now.”
The new addition to the Irish super middleweight scene claims boxing was his first combat love and has interesting explanation as to why it took him so long to retire his legs and focus on pugilism.
“The great thing about Muay Thai is you have that immediate glory. My first fight was on a big show in front of 1000 people in Limerick.
“The glory came immediate and I loved it. It didn’t matter to me that Muay Thai wasn’t the sport I loved the most.
“I started training and within three months I had my first fight, it was an immediate addiction to the crowd, the combat, the lights and the attention. I don’t you get that in amateur boxing as much.”
The focus now turns to pro glory and a new journey that looks likely to start on Celtic Clash 12.