Faulty scales can’t stop Cheyanne O’Neill smiling ahead of middleweight shot

When the draw for the National Elite Senior Championships was made earlier this month there were eyebrows raised at the women’s middleweight division.

It’s a straight final – nothing unusual there – but one between European U22 silver medallist Aoife O’Rourke and Athlone’s Cheyanne O’Neill.

A 64kg fighter up until couple of months ago, some may have thought that O’Neill’s name had been listed incorrectly.

But no, the fighter who made the move up to welterweight [69kg] during the summer following over a decade at light welter [64kg] will compete in Ireland’s biggest competition at the unfamiliar class of middleweight [75kg] against rapidly-improving Roscommon giant O’Rourke.

The reason? A set of faulty scales that have no doubt been thrown out the bathroom window but O’Neill is approaching the fight with her usual laid-back nature and smile.

“The scales were just bollocks, really,” she told Irish-Boxing.com to give a short answer before explanding.

“I hadn’t used them in a long while as I’d been away. Ah, that’s boxing, I suppose.”

“When we got up here [Dublin] I was bit over – I could have gone and tried lose it but it was the morning of the weigh-in. There was nothing in it but there was nothing we could have done about it.”

“It was either drink a bit of water and go up a bit or pull out and I’d trained too hard to pull out.”

Make no doubt about it, O’Neill, who is in the Irish Army, has been training hard and this will be just a brief trip up to middleweight.

“I’m 5’5″! God no!” she laughs when asked if she will be staying at 75kg beyond this weekend before giving her pressure-free outlook on the fight.

The European Youth silver medallist stated that “we’ve a gameplan and we’re going to get in and execute it. I’m confident, I’d been confident throughout training the last few weeks, I’m really enjoying it – and a happy Chaz is a dangerous Chaz.”

“I’m just going to get in and go for it.”

Size alone makes O’Neill an underdog but the Midlander is not too worried.

The 22-year-old notes how “I’ve been in with the best before, European champions, World champions, and beat them – I didn’t even know what a rank was.”

“She has two arms and a head, she’s not going to come at me with something I haven’t seen before.”

“Nine minutes, I’ll go in and have fun.”


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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