Christopher O’Reilly won’t be sporting a champions strut to the National Elite final ring this Saturday.
The Holy Family Drogheda fighter claimed the 75kg middleweight crown earlier this year and defends his title at the National Stadium this weekend.
However, O’Reilly reveals he has approached this tournament with the hunger and mentality for a challenger.
“I’m looking forward to the final now. I just take it as I’m not champion anymore. This is a new tournament and you are only champion if you win it again. I’ll approach it with the challenger’s mentality,” he tells Irish-boxing.com.
It’s not that doesn’t value his title, quite the opposite, as he explains: “It still means the world to win it. The Elite title is special and the best title you can get. It’s great to get them at any level but the Elite is special.”
O’Reilly was speaking after defeating a rough and ready challenger Cody Lee Peoples in the semi finals on Saturday last.
He was delighted to get the win and some rounds in before a second Elite decider, although he went into the fight not knowing what to expect.
“I felt his power in there straight away, so I had to be wary of him and make sure I didn’t get caught with silly shots. You can’t take anything for granted in there. I’ve never heard of him or the club before the fight. I didn’t know what to expect.”
He doesn’t go into the final blind when it comes to the opponent. The 75kg decider is a rematch of the 2022 Elite final as well as the Haringey Cup clash which both played out earlier this year.
“Josh is a good lad. I’ve fought him before so I know how tough of a fight it is.”
Revealing why he didn’t enter this Elite installment at an Olympic weight her adds: “I’m working full time, so it’s tough. It takes me a while to get down to 75kg because I can only train once a day. If I wasn’t working I could train twice a day and get down to 71kg. I don’t think I’m big enough for the lads at 80kg.”
Photo Credit Matthew Spalding ‘The Boxers Photographer’