Collins Junior looking to forge own route in the fight game

by Darragh McKiernan

CASTLEKNOCK native Steve Collins Jr, son of former two weight world champion Steve Collins, is set to take on Paddy McDonagh for the vacant Irish light heavyweight title on June 24 in the National Stadium.
The night will also see Ballyfermot man Luke Keeler fight for the Irish middleweight title against Darren Cruise on what promises to be the best professional fight card since the Bernard Dunne era.
Collins, who had no amateur experience, has only been boxing for four years and is undefeated after eleven fights. A win on June 24 will cement his place in the European rankings as he progresses towards a European title shot.
Collins has brushed aside a number of competitors in the past. Earlier this year, he went the distance with Spaniard Pablo Sosa who previously held former world title challenger Eduard Gutknecht to a draw in his home town.
The only blip on Collins’ record is in the form of a draw that came against Tommy Gifford in 2015, however this was put down to Collins suffering an injury to his right shoulder in the early stages of the fight.
Despite the clear link to the ring in his family, Collins opted for the rugby pitch in early life, starting out with Coolmine RFC and progressing through the ranks with Castleknock College.
He had a promising young rugby career before life inside the ropes, with stints at Wasps, Connacht, Lansdowne and London Irish to name a few.
However, at 23, the dream of life of a as pro rugby player ended abruptly, not due to injury, but of his own accord.
Speaking about his time at the Wasps academy, Collins said: “I was working in my uncle’s pub over there at the time because I had no income; you’d be in the gym for seven in the morning, you’d train during the day then I’d come home, eat, then I’d go to work until one or two in the morning.
“It was really, really getting to me, my weight was dropping. Guys were coming in so I thought this is kind of inevitable… I’m constantly being fatigued, I’m going to nip this in the bud, I’m going to go home.”
The dream to box was always present for Collins. Having a former two weight world champion as a father, it would be tough to not want to follow in his footsteps.
Despite this, Collins Jr tries to steer clear of any comparison to his father.
“It’s enough that I have my dad’s name. I didn’t want to be like him, putting a shamrock in my head, using the same music. I don’t even fight similarly to him.”
The announcement of this June 24 card is set to be the biggest night in Irish boxing since Bernard Dunne retired in 2010.
Tickets for the night are now on sale through Red Corner promotions.

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