Road warrior Seamus Devlin inspires after making belated bow in boxing!

"I've shown that it's never too late to pursue your dreams!"
Seamus Devlin (left) alongside opponent Leon WillingsSeamus Devlin (left) alongside opponent Leon Willings
Seamus Devlin (left) alongside opponent Leon Willings

After being posed with the million-dollar question 'why now?', Seamus Devlin gave officials within the British Boxing Board of Control a quite succinct answer.

The 33-year-old's professional debut may have ended in defeat, but the ambitious boxer's introduction to the sport has proven to be somewhat of an inspiration.

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Curtis Gargano's charge was out-pointed by up-and-coming super-middleweight star Leon Willings on his bow in Merseyside.

Seamus Devlin (left) had been sparring with ex-English champion Jack Flatley in readiness for his professional debut.Seamus Devlin (left) had been sparring with ex-English champion Jack Flatley in readiness for his professional debut.
Seamus Devlin (left) had been sparring with ex-English champion Jack Flatley in readiness for his professional debut.

However, the former bare knuckle fighter, who was a two-time national champion under the UBBF banner, has had a rather overwhelming response to his premiere.

"I was really proud of myself," he said. "I was flying when I left the venue. It's tough on the road, it's all uphill, you're fighting a lot of top prospects, but I'm a road warrior, it's in my nature. I'll keep learning my craft and become a more competent fighter. I took a lot of positives from it.

"I've been receiving messages daily. People from all over, some of whom I've never met, have been contacting me with nothing but admiration and respect. I've inspired people and helped pull some of them out of very dark places.

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"It's a really powerful thing. What I'm doing has moved people and got some of them out of despair. I thrive on that. I've shown that it's never too late to pursue your dreams. It's going to be a tough ride but it's one that I'm cut out for."

Devlin, who has set up camp at Mick Mulcahy's stable in Milnrow, also won over a hostile crowd at the Devonshire House Hotel in Liverpool.

The 'Celtic Cobra' turned jeers to cheers as he showed tremendous heart to pick himself up off the canvas in the second round to go the distance.

Neither Willings, his corner or manager Kevin Maree could believe that Devlin was still standing at the final bell after surviving a series of quite 'hideous' blows.

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The former St Augustine’s RC High School pupil said: "I had a few lumps and bumps and I was a bit sore. My face was in a bit of a state and my vision was hindered a little bit. I felt like I'd been in a car crash, I had to apply ice to my eye, but he was a seriously tough kid.

"He looked big and strong at the weigh-in. I don't think I could have had a tougher debut than that. However, I went the distance and won the respect of everybody there.

"I was talking to him through the rounds, he just couldn't get rid of me. He put me down in the second round, but I survived the count. In the end I thought I was brilliant behind my jab and I had some success with that. I was catching him.

"I had a few opportunities to follow up with my back hand but I was too tentative at times. He was awkward, he fought side on and he managed his range really well. His own jab was fast and strong, I could feel the power, it knocked me back.

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"He was brilliant and that's what made me a bit hesitant to commit. If I'd have thrown the kitchen sink at him and opened up then maybe I wouldn't have seen the fight out. It was a very hard night. He was punishing me every time I made a mistake."

It was, without a shadow of a doubt, a searing baptism of fire for the Padiham pugilist. Many would think twice about getting back into the ring, especially so soon after such an eye-opening experience.

Devlin, however, is cut from a different cloth. He's itching to go again. "I'm a durable fighter, I've got good punch resistance," Devlin confessed. "He was hitting me with some hideous shots, really heavy ones.

"I took a knee in the second round because my equilibrium was messed up. I stood up as soon as I got my bearings and met him in the middle. He's only 20, which is scary. He's not at full strength yet.

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"It hasn't deterred me in any way, shape or form. If anything it has just made me even more determined. I'm going to evolve, grow and adapt to the professional environment. I will win at this level, it's inevitable.

"I'm dropping down to 70kg now. That was not my weight category at all. I learnt a lot from the experience, though. I'm looking forward to getting down to my natural weight and having some competitive fights. I'll be a different gravy altogether."

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