February 17th was a good day for Irish boxing. Almost nine months on from his debut, Smithfield welterweight Keane McMahon returned to the ring for his second fight at the WIT Arena in Waterford. Now, on Saturday March 24th, McMahon is back in Dublin for fight number three.
The 23-year-old will box on the big ‘Celtic Clash 5’ card at Good Counsel GAA club in Drimnagh The show is headlined by a rematch of a 2017 Irish Fight of the Year contender. Following an epic draw in December Sallynoggin slugger Stephen McAfee and Youghal’s Colin O’Donovan will meet again over eight rounds for the BUI Celtic super featherweight title in what is essentially a guaranteed war.
McMahon has been fighting his own big battles over the past year, suffering from mental health issues, but the Chancery House youngster is in a good place now and ready to get back to what he does best – boxing.
‘The Iceman’ described how “it’s literally like I’ve started all over again, it’s like a new chapter. it’s brilliant to be back, I’m loving training at the moment. I’m really enjoying coming to the gym, enjoying sparring, I’m just enjoying the whole buzz again. The lay-off, when I came back I took a while to adjust, get back sparring, taking shots, hard running, but now I’m fit, my sharpness is coming back, and I feel great.”
“It’s the best feeling in the world, being sharp, being healthy, and just enjoying life. I’m always in shape, I always come in in shape, but mentally I’m in a different place. Even if things aren’t going right in the gym, I have the mental fortitude to push through it. Everything’s falling into place now.”
McMahon was a hugely decorated fighter in the amateurs, fighting out of Docklands, Phibsboro, and Ballybough, winning six Irish national titles from schoolboy to junior level and representing the country abroad. The inner-city Dub is looking for similar success in the pros and outlined how “I’m critical of myself, big time, and so is my team, and they have to be, I want people who tell it to me like it is. I believe I’m one of the best in Ireland so obviously I’m going to be critical of myself. I believe I’m going to be Irish champion, Celtic champion, and progress onto bigger things, European and World titles.”
“I need to fight and I need to be kept busy. Another four rounder then a six rounder. My manager is going to try and get me out four or five times this year and next year I can crack on towards a BUI Celtic title.”
With two points wins to his name, McMahon is now keen to score a knockout victory. In his comeback bout versus Filip Rzadek he came close, and the talented fighter is looking to make the breakthrough in D12. Reflecting on his comeback, McMahon noted how “the corner were screaming for the finish. Maybe he was one or two combos from going, but at the end of the day he was crafty and he knew how to survive. I will take the four rounds after that lay-off. I started to get it and enjoy myself more as the fight went on. That is the main thing really. It’s about getting in and enjoying it for me.”
“It’s so good to be fighting. I am glad just to be in there. You will see improvements. I could be knocking these fellas out. It’s learning how to do that. I think that will come with more fights. That is something I hope to add, how to take these lads out.”
While the March 24th card is headlined by one of the most hotly-anticipated fights in Irish boxing, the ambitious McMahon is keen to steal the show.
“Absolutely,” he stated “That’s my goal all the time, I want people to be talking about Keane McMahon. I respect all the other lads, but I don’t care, I want to go in there, do the job, and have people talking about me.”
Also featuring on the ‘Celtic Clash 5’ undercard alongside McMahon will be Ballybrack lightweight Niall O’Connor, Lucan welterweight John Joyce, Jobstown super bantamweight Carl McDonald, Blanchardstown cruiserweight Chris Scuvie, Crumlin lightweight Martin Quinn, and Crumlin-based Cavan middleweight debutant Owen Duffy.
Tickets for the fight night are priced at €55 (ringside), €35 (unreserved), and €20 for children and are available from the boxers involved. Keane McMahon can be contacted at 087 6344 511.