Interview Luke Keeler: Engineer by trade, Boxer by passion
Whether out in Dublin grafting as an engineer or fighting in front of thousands of people, Luke Keeler is as affable as they come.
Commencing his interview with Fightstore Media, he mentioned that he enjoyed watching Ricky Hatton years ago. And it’s no surprise. Like Hatton did, Keeler bravely competes in a skilled and perilous sport. But he still acts no differently to you or me, which is similar to how ‘The Hitman’ carried himself.
On 5 February Keeler will feature on MGM’s boxing show at the Roadstone Club, Dublin. If he wins, celebrations will be brief for the middleweight, as he will be back boxing in Birmingham on 5 March on a Matchroom card.
How beneficial is it to be backed by the promotional outfit, Matchroom?
“It’s great just to have dates to work towards,” said Keeler. “Any fighter will tell you that if you’re in the gym and you don’t have a date to train towards, you can lose interest and start going out with your mates and stuff.
“The fact that I have a date March 5th right after this means I’ll be straight back in training to keep the momentum going. It was announced that Ryan Burnett is fighting in Belfast too, I have a good chance of getting on that but there’s nothing concrete yet. It’s all falling together this year.”
Keeler is a DIT engineering graduate and has had to combine his boxing career with work. Although still an engineer, Keeler plans to retreat from that trade to focus solely on boxing in 2016.
“It was tough” doing engineering while boxing, commented Keeler. “A lot of the time I was juggling the two and leaving work early to train. I never gave it 100%. And you have to give sport everything, you look at the likes of Conor McGregor doing so well, it’s all or nothing. This year the job’s been really good. I’m getting a couple of weeks off before fights. When I get up to the later rounds I’m going to have to go full time.”
Did the idea of leaving boxing to commit more to work ever creep into his mind?
“I always loved it (boxing) so I kept plugging away at it. In terms of performances though you need to give it everything, you see some guys training full time and you’d be envious of them,” admitted Keeler.
“I’m out working with a crowd now but I’m trying to take a step back and go full time boxing. I always had it in my head that I’d go full time at the right stage. I got things sorted at home, a house to pay for and mortgage and that. I’m getting to the age now (28) where I’m in my prime.”
Luke Keeler is a proud Dad of twin baby boys, who inspire him to give boxing his all.
He said: “It pushes you to get up in the morning. I’m doing high altitude training three days a week. It gives you more motivation because you have them to provide for now. It’s an extra kick.”
Celtic Warrior’s Gym is where Keeler practices his preferred craft.
“It’s amazing,” reflected Keeler. “It’s a great atmosphere with good people. And lots of my friends from the amateur days like Stephen Ormond and Ian Tims are all in the gym. It’s good banter. The nutritionist Mark Kennedy is a good laugh too. Paschal is the best trainer in the country and he’s there guiding us. And sparring with Spike (Gary O’Sullivan), Frank Buglioni and young Steve Collins means it’s a perfect environment.”
Keeler [9(5)-1(0)] has fought four of his six pro bouts in Britain. But what’s it like performing for a vociferous home Dublin crowd?
“It’s much better. You’re sleeping in your own bed and you sell a lot more tickets in Dublin. I have always had good support. The tickets I got for the next fight were sold out straight away. It’s just easier and more comfortable, training wise you don’t have to fly over and weigh in, you’re doing everything in the comfort of your home,” he stated.
Boxing’s middleweight division is thriving and Keeler is enthusiastic to be in the mix.
“It’s packed, there are lots of options,” Keeler believes. “Spike fought a huge fight against Chris Eubank Jr, just a couple of things went against him but he showed a lot in that fight that he’s at that level. There’s talk of him and Eamonn O’Kane. The guy that beat me in Prizefighter, Tom Doran, I was asking for that fight but he won a British title eliminator but we could get him in the next few months.”
We ended the interview light heartedly. Luke ‘Cool Hand’ Keeler was asked about what luxury fight he would like to be involved in one day.
Before answering the question, Keeler began to laugh, and then he said, “I’d avoid Golovkin, hopefully he moves up a weight. The dream would be to catch him at the tail end of his career,” Keeler joked. “He’s a monster at the moment.”
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