Everett High student Shea Willcox was set to travel to Ireland this week for an international boxing event.
Dennis Willcox, who is his son’s assistant trainer, and his older son, All-Scholastic quarterback Jake Willcox, will join Shea as he steps in to the ring against a nationally ranked opponent from Ireland.
Amateur boxing observors say it’s a high honor and a tremendous opportunity to represent Team Boston and the United States contingent.
“We were getting Shea ready for the Silver Mittens [tournament] and the Junior Olympics, but this was an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up,” said Dennis Willcox. “Anytime you get experience with international fights, you have to take it.”
One of the boxing coaches in Boston Police Athletic League watched Shea in a sparring session at a gym in Hyde Park and promptly asked him to join the team that is being sponsored by Reebok.
A 5-foot-8 inch, 15-year-old sophomore at Everett High who trains at Nonantum Boxing Club in Newton, Shea has shown that he is one of the best boxers in his age division. Noted for his hand speed and quickness, Shea was a finalist in the Silver Mittens, losing a tough, 3-2 split decision. He will participate in the 145-pound, welterweight division at the 2018 Silver Mittens later this month and then gear up for the New England Junior Olympics Tournament that will be held in Rhode Island.
Shea has followed his father in to the boxing ranks. He started in boxing at the age of 11 and began devoting more time to the sport when he turned 13. He currently trains six days, including three weekly sparring sessions.
Is the talented fighter looking forward to representing the USA 3,000 miles away in Ireland?
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Shea, a member of the special teams for the 2017 Super Bowl champion Crimson Tide “It’s an honor to represent Everett, Boston, and the United States. I’m looking forward to touring the sites and marching in the parade with the Irish fighter in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Donegal.”
Reebok will attire Shea in a Team Boston, black and silver uniform and sweatsuit. Two of Shea’s 21-year-old teammates are New England Golden Glove champions.
Shea is looking ahead to a potential professional career in boxing. He will likely have 50-60 amateur fights before he and his family make a decision about turning pro. He is also looking forward to the well-known Golden Gloves Tournament in Lowell.
“I love boxing,” said Shea. “Mickey Ward is my favorite boxer. He had a great career and is a terrific guy. I also like Danny Garcia and Devonte Davis.”
Shea will be showcasing his ambidextrous style in his boxing debut in Ireland. He will be signing autographs for the Irish fans with his left hand, but he also possesses a powerful right hand.
Shea will be trying to keep the Willcox family sports tradition rolling along. His brother, Jake, had a superlative junior season for the Everett High football and looms as a top college QB prospect for new coach Theluxon Pierre. Jake also contributed well as a reserve forward on the Northeastern Conference champion EHS basketball team.
Having his father, a former champion boxer who also competed against international opponents, and his brother both on board for the ride, will only sweeten the whole experience abroad.
Asked what he’ll tell his son before his bout in Ireland, Dennis Willcox said, “Don’t get hit.”