It's 'now or never' for 33-year-old boxer Seamus Devlin ahead of professional debut!

“The BBBofC asked me the question, ‘why now?’ I’m 33, I’m not old as a man, but I’m getting on in terms of being a fighter. I told them it was now or never!”

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 10:30 am
Seamus Devlin (left) with ex-English super-featherweight champion Jack Flatley.

Time is of the essence for Seamus Devlin - but the ex-bare knuckle fighter is determined to make the most of the shelf life he has as a professional boxer.

The two-time English UBBF champion had his licence granted after passing all the necessary medical tests with the British Boxing Board of Control while successfully negotiating a comprehensive screening process.

Devlin, one of four brothers, will now fight out of Mick Mulcahy’s base in Milnrow under the tutelage of former journeyman Curtis Gargano.

Seamus Devlin

“The training camp has been super intense,” he said. “It’s been gruelling.

“It’s been quite a ruthless introduction to the sport, but I’m enjoying the journey and the experience. It’s been brutal, but rewarding at the same time.

“The pandemic put a lot of things on the backburner, so it gave me the push that I really needed. I saw Curtis’ dad, Des, sharing posts on social media.

“He was training fighters, I kept seeing his videos, so I got in touch. I booked a block of one-to-one sessions and in the end he helped me turn over.

“I’d been holding my own in sparring, my fitness levels were up there with the pros, I was smashing it.

“He told me that he’d been watching me for a while so he already knew how much I loved combative sport, how well I lived life and how much I wanted to succeed. I fit the criteria that he was looking for.”

The industry has breathed fresh life into Devlin. The Padiham gladiator spent much of his 20s on the canvas, fighting for survival in the real world as he battled drug addiction, homelessness and unemployment.

The light-middleweight’s hard-luck story was careering out of control and heading towards a tragic conclusion until he discovered a safe haven at the Muscle House Gym in Warrington.

Devlin did everything that he could to get his life back together; sleeping on floors and travelling the length and breadth of the country to compete on the UBKB [Ultimate Bare Knuckle Boxing] platform.

Eventually his home-schooling was complete and the ‘Celtic Cobra’ graduated from the school of hard knocks with a diploma, having learned to make lemonade whenever life gave him lemons.

That form of self-education will only stand Devlin in good stead for the remainder of his time in the fight game.

“I always knew that I had it in me, but the professional arm of the sport is on another level,” he said. “You can’t cut any corners in professional boxing, you have to be consistent.

“It’s intense, you’re up against better operators, you’ve got to be switched on both mentally and physically. You can’t miss a beat; you’ve got to be on top of your sleep, diet, training and hydration.

“You have to live and breathe the sport; as a result I’m in the best shape of my life. It’s borderline regimented. I’m training five days a week, travelling for four hours a day to do two hours’ training.

“The BBBofC asked me the question, ‘why now?’ I’m 33, I’m not old as a man, but I’m getting on in terms of being a fighter. I told them it was now or never. I signed a three-year contract and I’m looking to make the most of that time.

Devlin’s first assignment takes place at the Devonshire House Hotel in Liverpool tonight - a show pulled together by Pat Barrett [Black Flash Promotions] - when he takes on fellow debutant Leon Willings.

The former St Augustine’s RC High School pupil, a stablemate of Scott Williams, Levi Dunn and Stephen Jackson, has certainly been put through his paces in readiness for his bow.

Devlin, who once claimed to have fought with lions in a metaphorical sense to reach this stage, was thrown into British middleweight title challenger Mark Heffron’s den. He’s traded blows with former English super-featherweight supremo Jack Flatley as well as up-and-coming star Jake Andrews.

“I’m really excited, though I don’t think that it’s sunk in properly,” he said. “I’m sure the magnitude of it all will soon dawn on me. My first opponent has a strong amateur background, but this will be his professional debut as well.

“I know what I’m up against as an away fighter but I’m going there to win. I want to cause an upset. I just want to give a good account of myself, that’s my main aim. Some journeymen just enter the ring in survival mode, but I want to be competitive.

“I’m still green in the game, I’m improving but I’m still learning the subtleties and tricks of the trade. There’s so much to go through, there’s a lot of method behind the training, so hopefully that will soon become second nature to me.”