The Galway light heavy took the National Elite Senior title on Saturday, putting in a stunningly efficient performance to claim a well-deserved 4-1 split win over his vaunted foe.
O’Toole had described beforehand that he would go into the bout with no pressure but he has revealed that he was always 100 percent certain he would take the win, live on TG4.
The Celtic Eagles man told Irish-Boxing.com.com that “I knew I was “picked” as the underdog but myself and my coach Pawel [Popko] and my father knew I would win.”
“I believed I was going to win even with all the hype about him.”
“I know my ability and I know the level I’m at.”
So, was it all a ruse? An attempt to be underestimated?
No, claims O’Toole who described how there were “no mind games.”
“Tommy is a great fighter and opponent and we were very respectful after the fight which was great.”
“The occasion was amazing I enjoyed boxing on that night so much the atmosphere the support the cameras. It brings the best out of me, even though I think I could be done better. I knew I was winning so didn’t take any risks.”
Looking back on the fight, where O’Toole roared into an early lead before holding off a late charge from Hyde, the Connemara 21-year-old outlined how “the tactics were just to use my boxing ability, I knew from watching him I had the superior skills.”
“He never wanted to engage, after the first round he made it awkward as I had to try and get in and out a bit more as he wasn’t throwing first much at all, I felt comfortable the whole time.”
There is, of course, Joe Ward-shaped elephant in the room, with the triple European champion and three-time World Championships medallist having missed the championships due to a minor elbow injury.
Having recently stepped up from middleweight, O’Toole’s achievement is massive and the GMIT student is not calling for a spot on the plane to Minsk for the European Games in June.
That said, the Western southpaw does want to do some work with the Olympian.
“I have no immediate plans, take it one day at a time,” O’Toole explained.
“I know Joe Ward is number one and he deserves it, he’s proven himself over and over again.”
“I still have a lot of building for the weight and I have college commitments but I would love to get rounds with him, it would be great experience for me!”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)