I WANT THE CELTIC TITLE: KEVIN CRONIN
County Kerry light heavyweight Kevin Cronin isn’t just the first professional Kerry boxer, the unbeaten fighter also has a full time job as a firefighter. I spoke to the ambitious (and clearly very busy) Kevin for Southpaw Jab, initially most interested in how he balances battling blazes with pounding pugilists. It doesn’t sound easy, on top of training it is "24/7 365". No thanks. He's in good humour and doesn't sound knackered when we talk, though.
Cronin’s burgeoning career has seen him travel- he’s not fought any of his four fights in the same country- taking in Ireland, England, Spain and even Luxembourg. This willingness to move about is admirable and doing my customary research I found a video of Kevin’s stoppage of Boris Mrkonjic in the small town of Dudelange.
Occurring during the (almost) worldwide lockdown, I pointed out that it looked as if it was staged in an empty sports hall. It was.
“It was strange, we knew it wasn’t going to have a crowd and it was weird but it was a fight. It was no harm doing it, it was a good experience and a good performance so I was happy with it.”
No fans has been a problem everyone has had to deal with during these trying times, and that includes fans. Kevin is bigger news in Kerry than one might expect, receiving more media coverage than your average, small hall English prospect.
“I have a good following, fight week I realise I’m well known, I’m on radio and the papers and so on. When I fight in Ireland I know they’ll come in bus loads from wherever. I want them to see me and with the travel restrictions and that I’d like them to see me here too and not just on their laptops or whatever.”
However, he wants to add to that, starting soon,
“It’s not just my next fight, I want to build myself in England ideally. As well as Ireland, obviously. I wouldn’t base myself in England but it’s a good time to fight there with good opportunities.”
Kevin describes his style as ever evolving, which seems pretty sensible for a young fighter with a brief amateur background; not to be tying himself to anything too dogmatically. He’s got his eyes on a pathway to titles, though. Saying he’s happy to fight anyone, which you’d expect pretty much every prospect to say, the new and innovative platform Fightzone has caught his attention.
“If I can get on one Fightzone card I’ll impress and build my name. All I really need is to get a chance on one of them cards.”
There are only six listed Irish light heavyweights on Boxrec, and Cronin says “some of them are really super middle”. Because of this, the Celtic Title is more competitive than the Irish Title to him.
“The Irish Title isn’t as appealing to me right now because as you say there’s only six light heavies in Ireland. The Celtic Title there’s a lot of options because it’s not just the people in Ireland.”
“Saying that, I wanna win the Irish or the Celtic Title, ideally within the next three or four fights, my management aren’t keeping me back but they’re sensible.”
"It looks like my next fight will be in Dublin in November with Crowds Back, fingers crossed that happens for me so I can finally have my fans back. That'll give me a 12 week camp which is the perfect camp really and I can be my best in there."
The longer camp is beneficial, and Cronin promises more in his next bout than his last, “My last fight even I’ll admit I was unhappy with how I performed. I’d three weeks notice but now I’m working with my trainer and want to gel the boxing and the sitting down on my shots.”
“You’ll get to see this in my next fight.”
And the future hold higher, exciting hopes.
"Hopefully before the end of next summer I will bring the first Kerry Boxer headlined professional card to Killarney, Co. Kerry. If that happens and everything goes to plan it will be in a 5,000 capacity arena and also get to challenge for a Title- and be the first from Kerry to also win one. Keep making history, but I'd love to fight a highly recognised name too, to showcase my level and skills."
Many ambitions, all tantalisingly within reach. Hope to see you in England soon, building your fanbase and towards a Title win in County Kerry.