Craig O’Brien [4(0)-0] believes he is on course for an all-Irish fight, but needs to grab career win number five this month.
The Dublin light middleweight fights on the Red Corner ‘For Honour and Pride’ card at the National Stadium on Saturday June 24th, and a win here will see him go on to face Gerard Healy [6(0)-4(1)-1] in Belfast for his first career title.
A plan has been put in place for O’Brien that will see the inner city favourite fight for the BUI Celtic title before, should he win, boxing for the Irish title in the near year.
It’s a big change for ‘The Iron,’ who spent the entirety of 2016 on the sidelines.
After eighteen months out, O’Brien made his return in February on the last Red Corner show, outpointing game Spaniard Jorge Vallejo. A tough fight, O’Brien showed supreme skill in the early rounds before toughing it out in the fifth and sixth.
Delighted to get the comeback win in the bag, O’Brien is promising improvements in three weeks time.
“After that break, my last fight was like my first one,” the silkily skilled fighter noted.
“I am glad to get that out of the way. This time I feel bigger, sharper and better.”
“I’ll be stronger and faster, more improved every way, plus I will be more relaxed. It will be normal again for me.”
An impressive win this month will kick off some big plans for O’Brien, with an eight-round title fight against Belfast favourite Ger Healy on the next Kieran Farrell Promotions show being promised.
The 28 year outlined how “this fight has to be sorted first. It’s six rounds this time and then it’s the Celtic title against [Ger] Healy.”
“There is a plan in place now and obviously the goal for now is to get that Celtic title, win it and then defend it.”
“Then come the New Year I hope to get the Irish title. [Pauly] Upton has it now, but there is talk he is vacating and there is enough fighters looking for that belt to make sure there is a fight there for that in the New Year.”
Vallejo offered a stern test back in February, and a step up was planned for this month. However, with the prospect of a title fight in the coming months, it will be a tune-up in Dublin.
O’Brien revealed that “they had a Portuguese champion [Fabio Costa] with a good record [5(1)-0] lined up and I was like ‘I am easy, why not?’ but my trainer [Paschal Collins] thought it was better not to rush things especially with two fights over two years. I was game but you have to listen to your coaches.”
A real crowd-favourite, O’Brien brings a big following, and believes a Belfast battle with Healy will offer the perfect chance for an away day.
“I have good support and it keeps growing. I have to say I am grateful for them and my sponsors. Hopefully it gets bigger. I reckon I will bring a few buses to Belfast, that would be great.”
Also on the card at the end of the month is Ray Moylette, Victor Rabei, Thomas Finnegan, Chris Blaney, Allan Phelan, and two Irish title fights – Luke Keeler v Darren Cruise and Stevie Collins v Paddy McDonagh.
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo