Confidence crisis controlled – New improved Owen O’Neill fights in November

A fitter, smarter and more importantly confident Owen O’Neill [4-0] will be on display in Spain this November, according to the fighter himself.

‘The Operator’ has been a very welcome addition to the pro ranks since turning over in May of last year.

‘The Clinftonville Canelo’ has brought colour, sizable vocal support and in ring entertainment to all the cards he has appeared on.

Yet despite the successful start the 25-year-old didn’t always feel most comfortable as a pro. O’Neill had been honest about needed to be that bit more dedicated after his third pro win and speaking to Irish-boxing.com this week revealed he also previously suffered in terms of confidence.

The Boxing Ireland fighter claims that has all changed heading into his first away date set for November.

O’Neill has been working hard over lock down with Dee Walsh and Daniel Anderson and claims he is feeling the mental and physical benefits.

“I struggled with confidence in myself a while back,” O’Neill told Irish-boxing.com.

“But now I know what I’ve learnt and I know what I can do and that’s down to the things we have been drilling everyday flat out.

We have worked on everything not just one or two things absolutely everything. My boxing IQ has come on leaps and bounds.”

“I haven’t stopped training. I’ve helped Lewis [Crocker] and Poddy [McCrory] out with sparring and done rounds with [Sean] McComb and Maxwell for there fights, so I’ve just carried on, there shouldn’t be a problem with my fitness. I’m flying fit already.”

Gym mates Crocker and McCrory enjoyed impressive wins last month, victories that caught the eye and should allow them to move to the next level.

O’Neill admits their success has spurred him on and played a part in that confidence boost.

“I know I’m on a different stage in my career than them boys but watching them preform the way they did has made me want a fight ASAP. The team is on a high and soon it will be my turn to turn it on like they did on the big stage. I’ll not stop until I’m a champion.”

O’Neill believes whoever agrees to fight him next will become the victim to his new found confidence.

“I don’t care who the opponent is I know how well I’ve trained the past few months and know how well I’m improved I know I’ll put on a great performance.”

November and Spain represent O’Neill’s first fight outside of Belfast and only his second away from the Devenish.

It’s unclear as to whether away experience was something always on the agenda, but with the landscape as it is, the Belfast man is just happy to get out.

“To be honest I’ve been on to Leonard [Gunning] from probably the start of August looking a fight, so glad to get something pencilled in.

“I’m just excited to have a fight I wouldn’t care where I was fighting at this rate, but I suppose Spain is a nice place. November in Belfast is crap it’s freezing, so Spain will be nice for a wee trip in the sun get the win then enjoy myself.”

Boxing Ireland had hoped to move O’Neill in the directions of titles and thus wanted him to compete over six next.

However, like all best laid plans, the pandemic forced a change.

“The plan was for my fifth fight for me to do 6 rounds. That’s what I wanted but I’m near sure Leonard just wants me to do four rounds and just to be back in the ring fighting and staying active again,” he concludes.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com