John Joe Nevin, who won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, has turned professional and will move to Philadelphia to pursue his career in the paid ranks. Nevin, 24, who hails from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, has signed a deal with Berkeley Sports & Media and GreenBlood Boxing and will be managed by Tom Moran.
Nevin, who has medaled at the Olympic, world, European and EU championships as a bantamweight, almost went professional with Amir Khan's promotional company last year, but he had a change of heart and decided to stay amateur. He went on win a gold medal at the European championships in June and was named boxer of the tournament.
However, it seems that after winning that medal Nevin's motivation waned. He was on Newstalk radio in Dublin recently and explained his decision to lace up as a professional.
"The buzz of it (amateur boxing) has gone for me," he said.
Nevin, who will campaign in the featherweight division as a professional, went on to say that if he waited for the 2016 Olympics that he would be 27, which he felt would be on the old side to turn professional. Nevin visited Moran and his set up in Philadelphia and decided to place his future in his hands.
“He (Nevin) was over here for 10 days a few weeks ago and he is probably coming back on over in a couple of weeks before the holidays,” Moran, who has also managed world champions Tim Witherspoon and Kassim Ouma during his career, told the Irish Voice on Monday.
Nevin’s amateur trainer Brian McKeown will accompany him on his U.S. adventure, but Moran is looking for an American trainer who both men can work with, and he went on to say the Irish pair would see who they are most comfortable training with before a decision would be made. Among the candidates is Bernard Hopkins’ trainer Naazim Richardson.
“Brian will be part of things. I want Brian and John Joe to be able to work with (the new trainer). We talked to Brother Naazim, and we are also talking to Derek ‘Bozy’ Ennis,” Moran said.
“It will happen naturally. The great thing that he (Nevin) saw when he was over here in Philadelphia was the different styles of boxing, and he can learn from all of that.”
Nevin will train out of Bozy’s Dungeon in the East Germantown part of Philadelphia, which is Ennis’ gym. Ennis trains the other members of the GreenBlood team, comprised of Belfast trio light-heavyweight Ray Ginley (5-0), super featherweight Anthony Cacace (8-0), and light welterweight Tyrone McKenna (2-0). Moran told the Irish Voice that the latter two played an important part in luring Nevin to the City of Love.
“Anthony Cacace and Tyrone McKenna told me how good he was and that was an important part in recruiting. They also believe that he is going to raise their game,” he said.
Moran hopes that the four Irish fighters can work and train as a team, and he hopes to create a following for the GreenBlood stable of boxers in the Irish community on the East Coast.
“The one thing I believe we need to do is to develop his audience, keep him busy and get him on TV,” added Moran, who went on to say that he has been talking to all the major promoters about his new charge. “I would like to believe in six months to a year everyone will ask where is this team coming from?”
Moran expects that Nevin will make his professional debut in January or February, and that he will start off with six-round fights. In other news, middleweight Michael McLaughlin (6-1-1, 3 KO) and junior middleweight John Hutchinson (5-0-2, 1 KO) both recorded unanimous wins in separate fights at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, Massachusetts on Saturday night.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore