Darren O’Neill gave a gallant performance in the World Series of Boxing at the weekend.
The Kilkenny heavyweight was the first Irishman in action in this year’s edition of the five-round competition which will also see outings for Paddy Barnes, Steven Donnelly, and Dean Gardiner.
O’Neill certainly had a baptism of fire fighting for the Venezuela at ‘home’ against Sergey Kalchugin the Russia Boxing Team.
The venue was the scene of Paddy Barnes and Mick Conlan’s sensational qualification for the Olympic Games last year, but there was no similar joy for O’Neill.
The former middleweight was soundly defeated by his Russia opponent via unanimous decision (49-45 x2, 48-46).
O’Neill struggled with the huge size difference and was outmuscled throughout as well as suffering a nasty-looking cut midway through the clash.
Nevertheless, the veteran fought hard to the bitter end, refusing to bow and always looking for the knockout blow.
O’Neill now needs to participate in just one more WSB bout to secure eligibility for the WSB/APB Olympic qualifier in Bulgaria this coming May.
Also in action on Saturday night on the same show were Bator Sagaluev (who defeated Brendan Irvine in the light flyweight final of last year’s European Games) and bantamweight Hector Luis Garcia (the man who helped send Mick Conlan to the Olympic Games last year with a shock win over the Irishman’s rival for the qualification slot)
Watch the full card below, courtesy of the WSB YouTube channel. O’Neill’s fight can be found around the 1:46:00 mark”