Ireland’s youngest professional boxer James Power announced last month that he would be making the move Stateside to join Sheer Sports Management and continue his blossoming career in the sport.
The 18-year-old Cork native has already shot to 5-0 in his embryonic career, notching up four KOs and one split decision victory in bouts in Hungary and Mexico.
With his Leaving Certificate completed this summer, and the reality of balancing professional boxing with life as a sixth-year student over, Power knew the next step was needed if he was to push himself on in the sport.
“It’s what I’ve been working towards for the last year and a half,” Power tells Pundit Arena of his full-time move to Los Angeles.
“If I’m going to do something I know I’m going to do it right, I go all in or I get all out. Unfortunately at home, I couldn’t pursue this dream comfortably.
“I was relying on my mother too much if I’m being honest. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime, it’s a rare one and I’m very grateful to receive.”
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Announcement!⭐️ – I am delighted to announce that I have signed a management deal with Ken Sheer and will be moving to Los Angeles on a permanent basis very shortly. This opportunity is everything that I’ve been working towards and I am extremely grateful that things are falling into place. – I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your endless love and support. It really means the world to me and I promise to make you all proud!💚
The step is massive but necessary and Power understands that. Sheer Sports looks after some of Irish boxing’s elite athletes including Jason Quigley and Aaron and Steven McKenna.
The Cork native has spent the last nine months training with and getting to know everyone involved in the management company before officially signing his name on the dotted line with Sheer.
He admits that he has loved his time spent training in LA and focussing on the development of his career. But that it will be difficult being away from home and in particular missing his younger sister growing up.
“If I wanted to continue my career and continue pursuing my dream in this sport I knew this was a move that had to be made. When I’m here I love it because I’m training and that’s what I love to do so I’m in my element but when I’m back home it’s hard.
“I’m going to miss my sister growing up. I’m obviously only going to be home once or twice a year and that’s hard but it’s a move that has to be done. I’m looking at the positives. There’s no better feeling than finally being able to pursue this.”
Power may have only just turned 18 and he still proudly sports the tag of Ireland’s youngest professional boxer but he has shown signs early in his career that he is wise to the game.
He has seen fighters of his ilk get taken advantage of and given the nature of his move to LA and Sheer Sports, Power outlined that he did his homework and took his time before making anything official.
“You see a lot of young fighters getting taken advantage of now. Boxing is a business at the end of the day and it’s a risky one. I’m not foolish, I spent a lot of time getting to know everyone at Sheer individually.
“I do believe that I can trust each of them and they’re the right team to have behind me going forward. I didn’t have much issue putting my name on the dotted line but there was a lot to think about.
“I didn’t rush into anything. I know a lot of people back home might be worried that there’s an 18-year-old kid going over by himself to the States and just going for it but I took a lot of time getting to know them. I’m sure that they’re a good team to have behind.
The last time Pundit Arena spoke to Power he had just won the second fight of his pro career as a 17-year-old in Mexico and legally could not obtain a boxing licence in Ireland due to his tender age.
In those 18 months Power has completed his Leaving Cert and fought three more times, twice in Hungary and once more in Mexico last November – a hard-fought mixed decision win.
After every fight, he admits he is learning. The bout in November he had Sheer’s Courage Tshabalala in his corner, the South African former heavyweight fighter whose advice he feels earned him the edge.
Now in LA, he trains with experienced pros in American super-middleweight and sparring partner of Canelo Alvarez, Ronald Ellis and heavyweight Scott Alexander.
“I’m learning a lot. Especially in my last fight,” says Power.
“I felt way more comfortable last time. I had a cool head, I didn’t rush it and I just outboxed my opponent. I came back to my corner and Courage just said to me, ‘if the opportunity presents itself take him out, if it doesn’t, it’s cool just win on points.’
“It was different but I’m learning a lot. Even just by being over here in the gym I’m learning an awful lot. I’m training with two brilliant fighters, Ronald Ellis who is in the Canelo camp and the Caleb Plant camp.
“He’s a great fighter to have as a role model and then I’ve Scott Alexander who’s a brilliant heavyweight, those two lads have taken me under their wing and I’m blessed to have that. My coach Courage, he has a lot of experience. Coming from training part time with Pete Taylor at home, I’m picking up an awful lot as I go along.”
Over the next few months, Power will complete his move to the City of Angeles and continue acclimatising to his new lifestyle in pro-boxing.
He’ll stay ready he says should a fight become available in the States, but what about his dream of fighting in his native Cork, something he was so passionate about the last time we spoke?
Does he still harbour ambitions of a homecoming in the Rebel County?
“Definitely. I really want to fight in Cork. It was close to happening but issues came up and we couldn’t make it but I’m asking for this Irish debut.
“I’d really like it to happen soon. If I could fight in the States and then fight at home it would be brilliant. Then down the line, if I get more of a pull or a say, get one in Cork. I’m focussing on the Irish debut and just fighting on Irish soil at the moment. Fingers crossed.”
Credit for all photos of James Power – @powe131_ on Instagram