Promoter backs Craig O’Brien to become cult hero


Craig O’Brien is on his way to becoming the Molly Malone of Dublin boxing if his Red Corner promotional team are to be believed.

We doubt their will be a big busted statue of the inner-city puncher erected in Town, but Jonathan Graham claims he is on the way to securing a ‘cult following’ and suggests he may become a major Dublin fight figure.

Dublin is a market promoters have struggled to crack since the glorious Bernard Dunne days. Over the past decade or so some very talented operators haven’t been able to generate the following needed to tempt the money men to run big shows in the capital.

Circumstances and the recession certainly played a big part, but there is no hiding from the fact Dublin fight fans have looked enviously up to Belfast and the massive nights they have had over the same period.

Things are picking up in the capital and Boxing Ireland, Red Corner and SK Promotions all have shows lined up. However, O’Brien could be the one that crosses over and inspires some form of revival according to Graham.

It’s a bold statement from the young promoter, especially as ‘The Iron’ is by his own omission a little way off those really big fights.

However, the Paschal Collins trained light middle is starting to grab attention and headlines of late. His back story, which was rarely explored up and until recently, has caught the imagination – and people are gravitating to that tale of a life transformed.

The undefeated BUI Celtic champion also recently got to parade his belt in front of the Bohemians fans at Dalymount Park and in front of the Lord Mayor.

Indeed, the 28 year old was the first non world title winning boxer to be honoured at the Mansion House.

Not only is it all well deserved despite the fact O’Brien is just six fights into his pro career, but it’s proof that kind of support and goodwill that turns followed boxers into crossover names is building for Celtic Warrior Gym fighter.

“Events like this and having a mini documentary are just the beginning for Craig. They’re great in terms of profile building and prepping him for the big stage,” Graham told Irish-Boxing.com.

“He’s got the skill set and the personality to really gather a cult following,” the Sinn Féin councillor continued before highlighting how proud he and the Jennings brothers Andy and Paddy are of their fighter.

“Everyone involved with Craig were and are absolutely thrilled for him. It’s about time he’s started to get some of the recognition he deserves.”

O’Brien’s profile might be rapidly rising, but there is still an element of softly softly in terms of his ring progression. The BUI Celtic title has been won, but Red Corner are planning to build toward an Irish title assault next year before surveying the European scene in 2019.

“In terms of his boxing we’ll take it steady across 2018 but four-five fights building up to an Irish Title and possibly an EBU ranking.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years