In conversation with Paul O’Donovan
“You can win several Irish senior boxing titles and you might not be remembered, but once you are an Olympian boxer you will never be forgotten”, said Mullingar boxer Davey Oliver Joyce.
This week Joyce, a former professional boxer, who has recently announced his retirement, took time out to talk to Topic to reflect on the highs and lows of his boxing career.
It would be great to say that Davey’s career was a glittering one, but as most honest boxers will tell you, for all the top professional boxers of this world – the Tyson Furys, the Anthony Joshuas and the Deon Wilders – there are hundreds and hundreds of lower ranked professional boxers for whom each day is a hard slog, an onerous grind and a daily struggle just to survive in this tough, gruesome, brutal and at times corrupt sport.
However Davey’s career is still a fascinating one, one that has seen him go from winning boys All-Ireland boxing titles and senior Irish Boxing titles at the National Stadium in Dublin, to boxing at Madison Square Garden in New York as a professional.
But for Davey Oliver undoubtedly the highlight of his boxing career was representing Ireland at the Olympic Games, something he finally achieved in 2016 at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.
That is quite an achievement for a boxer from Mullingar, who admits himself that he was not the greatest boxer in the world. But what Davey may have lacked in skill and style as a boxer he certainly made up for in abundance with his great engine, determination, discipline, energy and dedication. Sacrifice was never a problem for Davey, either was true belief, belief in himself.
It is for these reasons also that Davey feels he now has to finally retire at the age of 34. Missing out on qualifying for a couple of Olympic Games at a younger age meant that Davey pursued his Olympic dream until he accomplished it, and so he entered the professional ranks at a much later stage in his career than suited his style of boxing.
Davey, sits back in his chair and pauses for a while before reluctantly saying, “I am retired, but the urge to come back is always there but nowadays my body can’t take it. I’m 34 years of age now. I have had a chat with my wife and I have talked to my coach and I’m saying I’m retired. A lot of it is due to my style of boxing which is high energy, always active, and really energetic. If I had a different style of long range boxing I would last another couple of years but my body is just not able for it. The last boxer that beat me was 26 years of age and I am 34. His speed and reaction were much faster than mine. So you have to consider things like that, and you have to consider your wife and your family. Those things are so important,” said Davey who is a proud member of the travelling community.
However at this stage, it has to be pointed out that Davey Oliver announced his retirement twice before, but still came back into the ring, and achieved some of his most memorable feats towards the latter end of his career.