In what was the fight of the night on the Murphys Boxing ‘St Patrick’s Clash 2’ card, Danny O’Connor emerged victorious in a double title bout with Donegal’s Michael McLaughlin [12(5)-2(0)-1] in Boston on Saturday.
The Framingham welter survived a strong second half fightback from McLaughlin to claim a deserved majority decision and claim the New England and Celtic Nations titles at the House of Blues.
Reflecting on the bout, O’Connor [28(10)-3(1)] told Irish-Boxing.com that “I thought I won the fight. It’s hard to score when you get wrapped up in that sort of fire-fight, you’re taking punches, you’re giving them. When I sat back, relaxed, and boxed – he didn’t touch me and I kept touching him so I got a lot of points from that.”
“I’d like to fight that way all the time, not getting hit – but hey, I’ve got big balls, sometimes too big for my own good.”
His Inishowen opponent had stoked the flames ahead of the bout, claiming that O’Connor had dismissed the challenge he posed. The pair then had a rather testy head-to-head at the weigh-in. However, after eight rounds of action, O’Connor was keen to put any bad blood to bed.
The southpaw noted that “Michael McLaughlin was a tough opponent, I know he had some animosity before the weigh-in, and so did I, and I hope he leaves it at that. It’s just part of the sport.”
“He’s a tough kid, a good guy, a very respectful person. I never said nothing about him before the weigh-in, whatever you want to do to motivate yourself is fine, and I hope he leaves it there because I’ve got nothing against him, it was a tough fight and a good opponent.”
O’Connor, who temporarily retired following his defeat to Gabe Bracero in late 2015, returned initially to raise funds for his mentorship programme ‘Off The Canvas.’ However, with two wins on the spin, the 31-year-old seems to have had his world title dream reignited – with the winner of the WBA-IBF light welterweight unification between Ricky Burns and Julius Indongo on April 15th being his main target. Indeed, with O’Connor being a massive fan of Celtic FC, a showdown with popular Scot and fellow Celtic support Ricky Burns could potentially work should the Rickster prevail next month.
‘Danny Bhoy’ described how “I’m honoured to be able to hold the Celtic Nations championship belt and the New England championship belt and just to be able to fight again, because so many times in my career it has been up and down – I didn’t know if I’d ever be back in the ring.”
“So, to be here now, let’s turn this motherf*cker into a world championship belt, that’s what I’m about right now. I’m going to 140lbs and I’m coming for the IBF!”