14 April 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Oisin Fagan took his defeat by Amir Khan hard.
Last Decembers bout with the much-vaunted Bolton lightweight was Fagans big shot at the big time – and he knew it.
After spending most of his career struggling to earn a living, Gael Force had been handed a shot at a fighter coming off the back of a shock first-round stoppage defeat. He sensed fear and opportunity.
However, the record books will forever show that Fagan was taken out by Khan inside two rounds. For a man like Fagan that will always sting because he suffered a fracture of the fibula just seconds before he was dropped for the first time in the fight. Typically, he fought on, but his broken leg repeatedly gave away and an increasingly one-sided contest was unsurprisingly halted midway through the second.
The knowledge of what he had lost hurt more than the fracture. And he thought he was over it, too, until he saw Khan effectively ensure himself a title shot by beating Marco Antonio Barrera on a technical decision last month after the Mexican ring legend had suffered a horrific cut to his forehead in the opening minutes of the fight.
I was disgusted by the way I lost to Khan and when I saw what happened to Barrera it just brought everything back. It was very similar because everybody was saying that Khan looked great and he did; I take nothing away from him as a fighter but the cut was key, just like my leg break,” he argues.
You simply cannot underestimate the effect that a cut of that size has on a fighter. Theres no two ways about it: it effects your vision and your approach. And it was the same with me. I broke my leg, I got up and I fought on but eventually my corner realised that something was badly wrong because I was going over without even being hit. Every time I tried to set my feet my leg just buckled under the pressure.
The leg went after the first decent shot he landed on me. It wouldnt have been enough to put me down normally but it knocked me off balance and when that happened I just felt my ankle doubling up underneath me. It was a nightmare, just a devastating way to lose.
Fagan wanted to get back into the ring straight away, to at least try to put the memory of the Khan loss behind him.
Irish promoter Brian Peters told him that there was a place for him on the undercard of Bernard Dunnes WBA world title shot against Ricardo Cordoba at the sold-out O2 in Dublin on March 21.
The only trouble was that Fagan had been told by doctors he would be out of action for 14 months. Quite remarkably, he made the most rapid of recoveries and actually pleaded with the Boxing Union of Ireland to let him box.
I felt 100 percent fit, 100 percent ready to box on the show, he declares.
I was sparring eight and ten rounds before I had to go to the doctor. I even brought in some video tape of my sparring sessions to the Boxing Union of Ireland but they didnt want to look at it. They said that theyd look like an unprofessional outfit if they let somebody who had broken their leg three months ago fight on the bill.
So I was disgusted because I felt fine and while Ive probably been on bigger cards, the Dunne card was in my home town, it was a huge bill and I really, really wanted to get on it. But it wasnt to be unfortunately.
As a result, Fagan is now eyeing a summer return to the ring and a crack at his compatriot, Andy Murray, who claimed the European Union lightweight title on the Dunne-Cordoba undercard.
Hopefully, theyll release me in May. And thats the way I feel: like a caged animal,” he says, laughing.
“They initially said it would be 14 months but when they saw the x-rays and how well I was getting on in my rehab they said that theyd have to reduce that, so hopefully Ill be back in May. Id like to think that if theres a card in May Ill be on that.
Obviously, Id love to fight on any Dunne defence but Id love to have a crack at Andy Murray. Thats kind of in the works. Andys a great guy and a fine boxer. I think our styles would mesh well. Im a come-forward fighter and hes very technically sound and those styles usually make for great fights.
But really, I just want to get back in the ring. I want to show everyone that I have a heart that is second to none. I want to move, to forget about the Khan fight, for it to be as if it didnt happen.