Con Sheehan makes impressive start in LA

Six-time Irish amateur champion Con Sheehan got his professional career off to a winning start with a points victory over Jonathan Rice in Los Angeles.

The Tipperary fighter convincingly won the four-round heavyweight bout at the Nokia Centre in LA late on Tuesday night, despite giving away a huge weight advantage to his previously unbeaten US opponent.

Clonmel man Sheehan tweeted: “Good steady win tonight against a monster and good fighter nice to get the ball rolling thanks for support.”

Sheehan is trained by renowned trainer Virgil Hunter, who also coaches Amir Khan and Andre Ward, and is managed by Corkman Gary Hyde. He has based himself in San Francisco since his switch to the professional ranks last year.

Meanwhile former European champion Willie ‘Big Bang’ Casey has confirmed his retirement from boxing.

The Limerick man was crowned EBU super bantamweight champion inNovember 2010 but was defeated five months later by Guillermo Rigondeaux in a WBA super bantamweight world title fight at Dublin’s CityWest Hotel.

Casey was also an impressive winner of the ‘Prizefighter’ series on Sky back in 2010.

“It is heart-breaking, but I think I need to let people know. People are always asking me when I fight next and I hadn’t really the heart to tell them that I was done, so I think it’s best to do it officially this way. I knew it was coming, it was always just hard to physically say ‘I am retiring’ or ‘I am retired,” Casey told Irish-boxing.com.

“I am coaching up in Rathkeale Boxing Club now and I really get involvedin that. I don’t think I would have taken a fight if it clashed with the championships coming up because I want to be there with the kids helping and supporting them. My eldest lad Myles came close to winning the Irish title over the last two years and hopefully this will be his year.”

Elsewhere Kell Brook will return to action on March 26 when he defends his IBF welterweight title against mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier at the Sheffield Arena.

Brook, who last fought in May when he stopped British rival Frankie Gavinin the second defence of his crown, pulled out of a bout with rugged Argentinian Diego Chaves three months ago due to a rib injury.

However, the unbeaten Sheffield fighter insists he is now fully fit to take on Bizier (25-2 17KO wins) - a bout that will do little to whet the appetite given the 31-year-old Canadian has twice lost to Jo Jo Dan, who was stopped by Brook in four rounds last year.

Brook (35-0, 24KO wins) said: “While I was gutted to miss out on fightingin October, I’ve fully recovered from the injury and feel stronger than ever.

“I’ve been working hard in the gym and working on new things, and I cannot wait to put on another explosive performance for my hometown fans and prove I am the best 147lb fighter on the planet.”


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