“A few butterflies will keep you focused” – O’Brien excited for Stadium ring return

Craig O’Brien [3(0)-0] finally returns to the ring in Dublin later this month, and the local lad does not want to waste any more time.

The Celtic Warriors light middleweight features prominently on the Red Corner Promotions ‘Unifinished Business’ undercard at the National Stadium on Saturday February 25th where he will contest a six round fight.

O’Brien has not fought since September 2015, and all his previous bouts have been four-rounders. However, he is happy with, and feels well able for, the kick-start.

The inner-city Dub told Irish-Boxing.com that “it’ll be 17 months by the time I get in the ring, but I’m in the gym all the time. I sparred six yesterday with some track running. We’re two weeks out so I’ll get a couple more six rounds in and I’ll be flying.”

“I’m buzzing for it, I don’t want to be waiting around. I’m 28 in October so I need to start upping the rounds. It’s six, stay at six, hit eight, and then hopefully an aul title at the end of the year or the start of next year.”

“They [Red Corner] are putting on shows and they want boxers who can build, if they can guarantee me fights and keep me busy then sure why not, who else is going to do it?”

O’Brien will face Jorge ‘Tiburón’ Vallejo [1(0)-2(0)] on the bill, a stocky pressure fighter who looks to be a guaranteed six rounds. ‘The Iron’ knows he can’t afford any ring rust and explained how “I have an opponent, I went and had a look at him the other day. Two losses and one win, and the fight I watched I thought was the one he won, and they gave it to the other fella.”

“He’s fit, and healthy, and ready. It’s going to be a game six rounds. I’m going to have to have my head switched on which is good. A few butterflies will keep you focused.”

It’s a return to the ring for the well-supported O’Brien, but it’s also a return to a ring which he has not graced in a decade. The silkily skilled fighter is looking forward to a big crowd, having previously fought on small hall shows, and he said “hopefully it’s packed, I haven’t boxed here in ten years, maybe more. I’ll be third-last on, close to the end, so hopefully the crowd’s good.”

“It’s all about getting the word back out there. There’s a good crowd going for me, there will be one hundred-odd at it, maybe more.”

Also featuring on the Luke Keeler v Lewis Taylor undercard in Dublin will be Allan Phelan, Eric Donovan, Chris Blaney, Lynn Harvey, Stevie Collins, Connor Coyle, Jay Byrne, Steve Collins Jr, and debutant Thomas Finnegan.

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

Tickets for ‘Unfinished Business’ cost €40 (unreserved) and €60 (ringside) and are available from the boxers involved on the bill.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie