Video: Royal Marine commando hopes to take the sport of boxing by storm
In four tours with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq, there were times Howard Kehoe had to dig deep to survive among the blood, bullets and bombs.
He’s had to face challenges and perils we, the fortunate majority, fail to even contemplate.
Howard has now left his distinguished service in the Marines, the Royal Navy’s amphibious light infantry, and is in civvie street.
He is at warrior at peace….but conversely, he is also in need of adrenaline-fuelled activity.
His yearning for action and sense of self-challenge burns inside him.
So ex-Corporal Howard Kehoe, at 31 years old, is becoming a professional boxer.
Under the watchful eye of trainer Ryan Rhodes, he plans to make a full-frontal assault on the light heavyweight or cruiserweight division.
Howard, of Halfway, boxed in the services and was supported back home by his friend, the late Thomas Bradley and Thomas’s brother Nigel, as well as Spire Academy trainer Robbie Sivyer.
Kehoe, a mortar fire controller in combat, says simply: “I love the training, everything about it. I really want to do it. I know I am a little bit older but I have been around the game. I will just take each fight as it comes and give it 100%.”
He thinks he has three or four years of ringcraft in him.
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Kehoe, who is used to the discipline of the Marines, regards trainer Rhodes as his “gaffer” and says with his help, he will improve with every training and sparring session. The towering fighter plans to use his height and fitness to his advantage when his pro career begins in earnest.
Referring to his background, the athlete said while being a Commando and boxing were two totally separate entities, there were “similar emotions” at play.
“When you are fighting a war or in the ring, there is, generally, excitement mixed with a little bit of fear.
“When you put it all together it becomes like a drug, almost addictive," he added, "almost like serving out in the conflict zone.
Kehoe said a different type of toughness was needed in the ring. But he’d use his experiences to come back strongly in adversity.
“I have done my bit as an amateur. I boxed for the marines and the navy, and at Spire Boxing, now I just think it now or never. We’ll see where it goes.”
Rhodes is confident he’ll make the grade.
“We’ll probably start his as a cruiser and them come down after he’s got his first fight and first win under his belt.
“He is incredibly dedicated to the sport and I think he’ll do well.”