BORN IN DUBLIN…
Kavanagh earned a number of national and international accolades at a young age. Since walking into the Crumlin Boxing gym in Dublin at the tender age of 10, and beginning to compete at the age of 11, Kavanagh has racked up over 180 wins in his amateur career, while losing only twelve bouts. From 2001 to 2009, Jamie won 14 Irish national titles along with adding six international titles to his resume.
Kavanagh turned professional in 2009 and found a new home in Los Angeles where he would ink a deal with Golden Boy Promotions and train under the world renowned trainer, Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. At this early stage of his career, Jamie had a very difficult decision to make, either cut ties with long term Amateur coach Seadano Ruiz where the duo had shared so much success or continue together on the journey. Kavanagh chose to hand over the reins to Roach but showed true loyalty when keeping Ruiz onboard as his secondary trainer where their bond would become even stronger.
He made his first of many T.V appearances when he was featured on the HBO boxing series where he acted as a sparring partner for Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao. Although, only 20 years old at the time, Kavanagh was handpicked by the Filipino star to help him get ready for his world title fight versus Timothy Bradley later that year. A host of Hollywood’s finest talent and celebrities would stop by the gym each day to watch the two trade blows. Kavanagh has been quoted saying, “getting in the ring with the likes of Manny was like a dream come true for any boxer learning the trade”. Kavanagh made his professional debut on a card with title contenders Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on May 15, 2010, impressively halting William Ware in two rounds. This was the moment where fight fans got their first taste of the Irish prospect in action and with a KO of the night performance left them thirsty to see more of “The Nuisance” in action. In the years ahead, he would go on to make numerous TV appearances on Fox Sports, Telemundo and BoxNation and rack up an impressive professional record of 20 wins with only 1 loss.
In 2011, Kavanagh was named Irish Boxing’s Prospect of the Year at the National Boxing Awards beating off some stiff Irish competition in the process. The following year he defeated hard hitting Ramon Valadez in an 8 round slugfest at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, California, with some boxing pundits stating that round 3 was a “Round of the year” contender.
In 2013, after spending three years at the Wild Card gym in Hollywood under the watchful eye of Freddie Roach, Kavanagh decided to change things up and move his camp to the desert in Indio, California and hired Joel Diaz who is currently recognized as one of the best trainers in boxing. Kavanagh and Diaz immediately clicked and “The Nuisance” looked even sharper in 2014 during a Fox Sports televised card, stopping former lightweight contender Michael Clark in 5 rounds. In March 2015, after a nine month hiatus from the ring due to the untimely death of his father, Kavanagh returned and won a lopsided 8 round decision over Mexico’s tough veteran Miguel Zamudio. In the months that followed, Kavanagh would experience heartache with the death of his uncle but also great joy with the birth of his first child Florence.
In the summer of 2015, Kavanagh turned down a lucrative deal with Golden Boy Promotions and returned to European soil and sign a four fight deal with Irish owned boxing operation, MGM Marbella based in Spain. This decision did not come easy as he was torn between signing another five year deal with Oscar Del La Hoya’s Golden Boy team, which would have kept him stateside away from his family for long periods of time, so he ultimately made the decision to return home to be closer to his family.
Kavanagh’s first outing under the MGM umbrella got off to a flying start as he easily outpointed Nicaraguan Reynaldo Moraover for six rounds at Wembley Arena in September, 2015. His next appearance inside the ring would come just two months later at a venue he’s all too familiar with from his days as an Amateur. Kavanagh got the chance to put on a show in front of his home fans and fight for the first time as a professional at the National Stadium in Dublin. Kavanagh punished his foe Oskar Fiko of Romania for six rounds before halting him in round seven with a crippling shot to the body. The sold out crowd was sent in to frenzy with the loudest shouts coming from close friend and current UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor, who was seated ringside.
In the weeks after his stoppage win, rumors started to circle within the local media that “The Nuisance” would be next in line for a shot at the vacant WBO European lightweight title belt. Those rumors were deemed to be true as the Dubliner got the call and was offered the opportunity to fight for his first title as a pro boxer on the MGM ‘Clash of the Clans’ card at the National Stadium on Feb 6th 2016. “The Nuisance” will need his entire portfolio of weapons on hand as he faces the experienced Portuguese boxer Antonio João Bento at the famous venue in front of his home town fans. If Kavanagh’s hand is raised in victory, surely world honors are in the very near future. What once was a dream is quickly becoming a reality for the Irish boxer.