LUCAN boxer John Joyce will take another step up the rung in his rapid professional career when he faces off with Cork’s Neil Murphy in Boston next month.
The undefeated army recruit, who fights out of Lucan Boxing Club, will face the Cork native on the undercard of Mark DeLuca’s fight with Jimmy Williams at the House of Blues on March 16.
There’s a little bit of serendipity in the card as DeLuca is also a military man, having served as a US marine in Afghanistan, and the 30-year-old is looking forward to picking the Boston man’s brains.
But his immediate thoughts are on picking apart the Bronx-based southpaw who, though six years younger than Joyce, is more experienced in the professional ranks with a 12-1-1 record.
Joyce, with a record of 7-0 and four by knockout, came to the fight game late with a first professional bout aged 29 after a short amateur career.
The catalyst for his conversion to boxing was the tragic death of his brother Paschal. Joyce dealt with his grief through boxing and, as a result, found a new calm within himself.
“To be honest with you, it was a mental thing why I really started boxing,” Joyce tells the Dublin Gazette.
“My brother passed away and I needed an outlet after he died. I started boxing and it was just something that came natural to me.
“It just kind of went from there. It was something that just happened by accident really. I kept going at it and look where I am now.
“Any rage or any grief I was suffering, I literally outletted it through either sparring, boxing, hitting the bags or whatever.
“I dealt with it through boxing. And it’s worked for me. I remember when he first passed, I was so angry. I hated everything.
“I found boxing and I’m a much more relaxed and chilled person. Outside the ring, you wouldn’t even think I’m a fighter, I’m so relaxed.”
Joyce is trained and managed by Tony Davitt in Lucan and has full faith in his mentor’s ability to prepare him for what he is sure will be his eighth straight win.
And he feels his army background, and the physical fitness it entails, gives him a unique advantage even coming up against a boxer who can devote 24/7 to his craft.
“I think my fitness is what’s going to do it for me. I know right well any Irish boxer, even those abroad, couldn’t match me for fitness.
“My training regime, through the army and everything else, it gives me a head up on everybody.
“I will go in the fitter and better man on that end of things.”