Limerick Legend – Kevin Sheehy inspired ahead of Elite Senior final by “role model” Andy Lee

Andy Lee may have retired from the pro fight game this week but the Limerick legend still lives and breathes boxing.

At the weekend Lee attended both nights of the National Elite Senior Championship semi-finals, getting a feel of the tournament ahead of providing punditry for finals night on RTÉ this Saturday.

At heavyweight, a young fighter from Lee’s old amateur club continues to exceed expectations and keep winning.

Over the past few months Kevin Sheehy has won the 91kg title at both Intermediate and Under-22 level and, following these results, he was entered into the Elite Seniors – where he promptly reached the final.

Lee sat and talked with his fellow St Francis’s fighter on Friday night ahead of Sheehy’s semi-final the next day, a special moment for the teenager.

“It was great,” he told Irish-Boxing.com

“I was talking to Andy, he gave me a few words of wisdom. He’s a legend in Limerick and he’s an absolute role model to me.”

Sheehy subsequently went on to defeat Liam Greene of South Meath on Saturday night, claiming a bruising 4-1 split-decision win to reach an Elite final on his first attempt – much like Lee who claimed top honours at middleweight in 2003, 2004, and 2005.

19-year-old Sheehy was given a real test by Greene and admitted that “it was a tough fight, a very tough fight. He was a tough opponent. He just wanted to keep coming, coming, coming, no matter what moving I was doing.”

“I hit him with a couple of good shots, he hit me with a couple of good shots as well, but you’re going to get that, you can’t swim and not get wet. If you’re fighting a boxer that’s coming and wants to stand in front of you and take your head off.”

“The first round, I had to get used to him coming forward. He hit hard and I took shots – but at the end of the day, it’s my first Elite fight, like!”

Sheehy is approaching this tournament with the pressure off. Having graduated to Elite level earlier than expected, he is taking the experience in his stride.

The Shannonsider explained how “I’ve nothing to lose in this tournament, absolutely nothing to lose.”

“These championships are just a reward for me, I’ve already hit the goals I wanted to hit this season.”

“I’m 19 years of age and I’m in an Elite final, the proof is in the pudding, it’s working.”

This coming Saturday, live on RTÉ, Sheehy will face fearsome Dublin-Russian Kiril Afanasev, who looked sensational in the corresponding semi where he stopped Belfast veteran Jason Barron.

Sheehy though is confident and stated: “look, it is what it is, it’s boxing, I’m not afraid of anyone in the weight. They’ll do what they do, I’ll do what I do. I’ll just go in and perform and if I perform to the best of my ability it should get me the win.”

“Anyone I box, I’ll give them respect, but I’m not afraid of anyone at the weight. We’re well able for it.”

dpg

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]