Following a points win over Pal Olah on the ‘Celtic Clash 3’ card at the National Stadium, the 22 year old will return to the same venue as he looks to start building momentum in his promising pro career.
O’Connor features on the ‘Celtic Clash 4’ bill on the South Circular Road with former top amateur and RTÉ pundit Eric Donovan headlining in a defence of his BUI Celtic featherweight title against Juancho Gonzalez, while there is also Dublin grudge match between O’Connor’s sparring partner Crank Whitehouse and Jay Byrne, who sparred Conor McGregor ahead of the Floyd Mayweather fight in August, for the BUI Celtic welterweight belt.
O’Connor impressed in September with a stylish win in which he landed plenty of heavy shots on his Polish opponent. The Tony Davitt-managed boxer though believes there is plenty of room for improvement.
A man with high standards, he rather harshly reflects how “I wanted the stoppage to be honest. I wanted to stand out. In the first round the plan was to stay on the jab and keep composed, but I was landed the jab easy so I started to throw more shots.
He was tough enough, but he didn’t throw much so I would have loved to got the stoppage. When you’re in the dressing room after you do think the four rounds probably will stand to you, but I wanted to stand out with the stoppage. I got good feedback though.”
Most felt that O’Connor took the pros like a duck to water, entertaining the crowd throughout his debut. There were no jitters for the Dub who laughs at how “I was nervous about not being nervous.
The whole day I was relaxed and It was starting to worry me, but then when I got the hands wrapped and start warming up thankfully that little buzz came.
I felt relaxed in there though. There used to be a load of nerves with me when I was boxing as an amateur, but I was talking to a sports psychologist before the last fight and I’m still talking to him now and he was just constantly talking about visualisation and it all went well.”
A full-time apprentice electrician, O’Connor has been training hard for his second pro fight and describes how “I’m putting in the work, I’ve had loads of great sparring, loads of running, loads of training, same as last time.
I’m up at all hours, working all day, and then going to the gym, having a hard training session, and running then afterwards. If you want something bad enough though, you’ll chase it.”
The likeable former Monkstown amateur is a happy-go-lucky guy and one delighted to be living his dream. He now wants to get a big knockout win on Celtic Clash 4, outlining how “I’d like a stoppage, that’s what I’d like now but, of course, if it comes, it comes.
The minute you put them eight ounces on you feel it, you know you’re going to hit harder. It’s one fight at a time at the minute. That’s my mantra for now. I can’t wait, it’s always a great atmosphere at these shows.
I grew up watching professional boxing. It’s always been a dream of mine to box pro. I used to travel all over the country watching boxing. I’ve been over to England, over to America to watch lads fight. I’m a big boxing fan. I just like fighting. It’s been class.”
Celtic Clash 4 also features Bernard Roe, John Joyce, Graham O’Shea McCormack, Colin O’Donovan, Vladimir Belujsky, Dylan McDonagh, Carl McDonald, James Cahill, Stephen McAfee, Martin Quinn, and Thomas Finnegan.
Tickets for the show cost €30 (Balcony), €40 (Gallery), €60 (Ringside), €100 (VIP Premium), and €15 (Under-15s gallery – must be bought alongside an adult ticket) and are available to buy from Niall by calling 085 232 8914 or online at Ticketmaster.ie.