CASHEN Vale Boxing Club in Ballybunion is celebrating one of the greatest milestones in its history as a star fighter goes professional.
6-year-old Maurice Falvey signed with boxing promoter Tony Davitt earlier this week, at what is the outset of the most exciting chapter yet in his long involvement with the sport.
The Ballybunion man is delighted to be at the heart of the club’s proud celebration of his achievement this week.
He has been boxing since he was knee high to a grasshopper, under the tutelage of his father Maurice Senior and Cashen Vale coach Patrick O’Brien since he was 11 at the North Kerry club.
“It’s a dream come true all right, and it’s been my dream ever since I watched Rocky aged eight or nine,” Maurice told The Kerryman.
Maurice fairly powered up the steps of the boxing world himself ever since he was electrified by the famous Stallone flick, starting with the London club Nemesis.
But the transfer to Cashen Vale when the family moved back from London to Ballybunion proved a crucial move as coach Patrick O’Brien and his father Maurice began nurturing his preternatural talent in the ring.
His amateur record reads like the perfect pugilist’s progress to professionalism, with scores of significant wins to his belt and much else.
Maurice was among the first Cashen Vale boxers to compete at international level for the club a decade ago.
“I suppose the biggest things to date included boxing at Katie Taylor’s homecoming after she won in the London Olympics in 2012. That was an incredible experience and she was a huge role model for me.
“Seeing her fight was an inspiration and I would have looked up to her and everything she achieved as probably the greatest female boxer ever,” Maurice said.
“Another huge experience was when I was 16 I boxed in New York. That was some trip coming from Kerry to see New York and fight there.
“Funnily enough, one of my biggest memories of the trip was when four or five of us lads from home went on the subway and failed to look at what station we were at. We got completely lost, wandering around the subway system for four or five hours!”
It was an experience in utter contrast to his sporting career, which has remained firmly on track for the most part over recent years.
“It hasn’t been all plain sailing of course but I’ve been lucky and got there in the end. It was hard enough though and there’s no such thing as an easy fight, they are all hard.
“I really have to praise Patrick O’Brien at the Club as well as my dad. They really worked hard with me and made this all possible. When you have people like that backing you it makes it easier.”
“And Steve Roche at Nemesis in London really got me into boxing in the first place.”
Boxing appears to be entering a very positive phase in Kerry. “It seems to be picking up alright, thre seems to be more coming out of Kerry who are going professional. There’s at least three or four of us now and I think professionally the scene is getting much bigger in Ireland.”