Emmet Brennan wants to dazzle like the original ‘Dazzler’ when he makes his Olympic debut today.
The Dubliner faces as tough a start as you can get, as he takes on Dilshod Uzmetov a World Championships silver medal winner from Uzbekistan.
However, he goes into the fight in a defiant mood and ready to try and emulate his Olympic hero and role model, the late great Darren Sutherland.
Brennan was a stablemate of the Irish boxing favourite while both frequented the St Saviours club and he watched on with glee and awe as the middleweight went on to win a bronze medal in the Beijing 2008 Games.
“My favourite Olympian is Darren Sutherland,” said Brennan, speaking to RTE Sport ahead of his Olympic debut.
“I used to box with Darren in St Saviour’s Boxing Club many moons ago. As a kid, he was my biggest role model in boxing, and is someone who I aspire to be like,” he adds before giving little credence to the hype around his opponent.
“I don’t care who I fight. It’s nine minutes.
“My style now is going forward, I’m a pressure fighter, while before I was a counter puncher, so I can do both.
“If I’m in a fight and I have to fight, I’ll do it, but if I have to box, I can do that as well.
“In terms of an opponent, I’m a nightmare for people, they don’t know what they’re going to get.”
Qualifying for the Games completed a four-year plan, which turned into five thanks to the pandemic, for the Dub. He had all but retired before he returned to the sport in his mid-twenties and set himself an Olympic goal.
Now having reached the Games he wants more.
“There were lots of ups and downs. For me in my early twenties, I fell into a life that I wasn’t really happy with, and then in my mid-twenties I got back into boxing.
“And it was ‘are you going to give it a proper shot and go after the Olympics, or just come back and train?’, and in fairness I dropped everything, workwise, social life, I sacrificed all that and it paid off in the end.”
As a result the Dubliner has now achieved both his amateur ambitions.
“You can’t beat fighting in the Stadium,” said Brennan. “National Elite Finals Night is my favourite night on the calendar. As a kid, I had two dreams, to become Elite champion and to be an Olympian.
“And now I have achieved that, it feels great, but I want a medal.
“Athletes want to better themselves, so it’s great for a day or two but then it’s back to work. You want that medal.”