January 4, 2016
January 4, 2016
Virgil Hunter

Action Images/Reuters/Steve Marcus

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SIX-time Irish National heavyweight champion Con Sheehan will make his long awaited professional debut January 19 in a four-round bout, against an opponent to be determined, at Nokia Club in Los Angeles.

Sheehan is scheduled to be in the swing bout, so there’s a possibility that his first pro fight will air live on the Fox Sports 1 broadcast.

The 6′ 5 ½”, 220-pound Sheehan is athletic, in addition to being a physical specimen, who also captured a gold medal at the European Union Championships.

Sheehan decided to enhance his pro boxing career a year ago, moving to Oakland to work with 2011 BWAA Trainer of the Year Virgil Hunter (pictured above). Dividends are already paying off for the young Irishman.

“It’s been eye opening, I suppose, because Virgil is showing me the most simple of things, technically, that I’ve never seen before and it’s making a massive difference to me,” Sheehan said about being trained by Hunter. “My power has increased 10-fold with simple adjustments that I have learned from him. It was a bit of a shock because, I thought I’d cracked the technical side of boxing but he’s taken me to a whole new level.”

The 26-year-old Sheehan has the advantage of directly learning from one of the most respected and successful trainers in boxing, Hunter, whose top fighters include Andre Ward, Amir Khan and Andre Berto.

Sheehan is the first Irishman that Hunter has ever trained.  “Every coach has his own style and mine is old school from Texas,” Hunter explained.  “Mine is slip ‘n slide and my fighters need good reflexes and good legs.  Cornelius (Con) isn’t a dancer, but he moves the right way, and I like that a lot.  I liked what I saw from the first time we met.  He keeps himself in good shape and has a good amateur pedigree.  I teach a pro style, even to amateurs, and some like Cornelius are better as pro fighters.

“Cornelius is a strong kid.  He’s made mistakes, but earlier in his life, and that’s a good thing.  There’s always a transition period and it’ll take him a few years.  He’s already proven his dedication by being here.  If he keeps on track, fighting and training in the United States, he’ll get there in two-three years.  The heavyweight division is changing. This is like the time (Tim) Witherspoon, (Greg) Page, (Frank) Bruno and a few others would win the world title and then lose it right back, until (Mike) Tyson came along and cleaned up the division.  I’m particularly happy with his progress the last six weeks; Cornelius is focused on doing it, instead of just doing it.”

Sheehan is managed by Gary Hyde (Nowhere2Hyde Management), who guided the career of world super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, as well as two-time world middleweight title challenger Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam.

“Con Sheehan has stood out to me as a fighter with incredible boxing skills who, I knew, would benefit greatly with Virgil Hunter as his trainer,” Hyde added. “After two intensive training camps, we are all satisfied that Con has what it takes to be a major force in the heavyweight division.”