On the road to recovery: John Joe Nevin. PHOTO: LORRAINE TEEVAN

World title is John Joe's target as he resumes training

Olympic champion John Joe Nevin has vowed that nothing will stop him becoming a future world champion as he went back to the gym seven weeks after having both legs broken in a violent attack.

The boxer, who made his professional debut with a comfortable win last March, is still using crutches but hopes to be back in competition by October, after what will be a summer of intense training and rehabilitation.

Nevin (24), who was pictured back in the gym over the weekend, said he was focusing on building up his upper body strength and flexibility and plans to ditch the crutches in the next four weeks.

He said his recovery is going well and puts that down to a combination of his fitness and his mental attitude.

“I’m just glad to be back in the gym. Everything’s going really well and the doctors have said I have recovered well. It’s because I’m young and I’m fit. If you believe you can do something your body reacts to how what your minds is saying,” said Nevin.

The fighter made headlines for the wrong reasons last month when his legs were broken during a violent incident in Mullingar on April 5. He was allegedly attacked with a golf club and a stick during the incident in which he claims he was acting as a peacemaker in a row.

Nevin was left in a wheelchair for a number of weeks after his right leg was fractured in two places and his left leg was also broken. A 21-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident and released without charged, pending a file being sent to the DPP.

Last night Nevin refused to comment on the alleged violent assault and said he was now focused entirely on his training.

“My concentration now is on getting back to fitness and to eventually been in a position for a world title,” he said. “I’ve never been a quitter and the only thing that will stop be trying to be world champion is to put me in the grave.

“To be world champion I’d go through anything,” the Olympic hero said. He was speaking at Cavan boxing club where he was training with his trainer Brian McKeown.

Nevin had been set to fight a number of times this year as he looked to build on his glittering amateur career and McKeown admits these injuries are a setback.

“It’s a long road back but we’ll do it. He’s psychologically strong. He has tasted success and he knows what he’s lost. Two broken legs is never ideal but we’ve being refining his style for the more aggressive professional fight,” said McKeown.

He said that Nevin, known for his “Mullingar Shuffle” around the ring, is working a style with a lot less movement and more upper body work for defence and attack.

“We’re hoping that his reflexes will be intact and the flexibility will be there by the end of the summer,” said McKeown.

The trainer has enlisted the help of Gerry Hussey, the Sports Council High performance Psychologist, to help the boxer stay focused, positive and determined.

Nevin made his professional debut in a Super featherweight bout on March 17, against Puerto Rican fighter Alberto Candelaria, winning by a unanimous decision.


Declan Brennan