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Gaeilgeoir Niall O’Connor targets TG4 spot

One of Irish boxing’s best kept secrets, Niall O’Connor [4(3)-0] is hoping that more than a cúpla focail will get him some big attention next Friday night.

The Ballybrack super feather fights on the big Ray Moylette Mayo ‘Homecoming‘ bill at the Royal Theatre in Castlebar and, as a Gaeilgeoir, he is hoping that his four-round bout is one of the ones chosen to feature live on the TG4 broadcast.

“It depends on who’s the floater, I wonder do they know that I’m fluent in Irish?” he asked Irish-Boxing.com recently.

“I actually am. I went to Coláiste Ráithín in Bray, I’ve been studying Irish since I was knee-high.”

“I’m fluent in Irish but you’d like to think that even if you had broken Irish that they’d want to do something with you.”

Staying somewhat under the radar, O’Connor is coming to the end of his first full calendar year as a pro and feels he is rapidly improving at the Celtic Warriors Gym.

“I’m happy to be on the show, it’s another learning experience.”

“I’m back down to four rounds, I had a feeling it would be another six but I’ll take what I can get.”

“I’ve learnt an awful lot this year, this gym is the best place to be. I’m learning off the lads, Ray [Moylette], Steo [Ormond], Spike [O’Sullivan], Niall Kennedy, I’m learning bucket-loads off them and Paschal who has a wealth of knowledge.”

Described by manager Tony Davitt as “a natural talent”, O’Connor has a lot of admirers within the game.

John Joyce is one and while O’Connor is not keen on boasting, the Lucan welterweight is more than willing

“He hits fucking hard,” says Joyce he hits harder than some of the light middleweights and middleweights than I’m sparring, that’s the truth. Serious power.”

“It’s the shots themselves too, he finds gaps and hits you with shots that you don’t think are possible.”

When asked about these powerful punches that have gotten people talking, O’Connor has a modest potential explanation.

“I honestly couldn’t tell you, I don’t like talking about myself.”

“But I was fucking huge when I was younger, I think that’s it, this is the lightest I’ve been since I was about 13!”

“You should see photos of me from when I was younger, I was mainlining bottles of Lucozade.”

“Boxing has changed my life for the better, it really has, it’s kept me sane.”

On December 7th will be Pole Krystzof Rogowski [10(5)-27(15)], a veteran and regular visitor to these shores.

Back in July, the former EU bronze medallist pushed O’Connor’s domestic rival, Aiden Metcalfe, close.

‘Nasty Niall’ has scored three successive early knockouts – and many are backing him to do the same next weekend – but O’Connor wouldn’t mind going a bit deeper following some doghouse sessions in the Celtic Warriors Gym.

“I’d like rounds,” he said, “I’d like a learning fight.”

“Six rounds would have been great, I’ve been doing it in the gym, but I’d like to do it in a pressure situation.”

“We could do 15 rounds [in the gym] on a Saturday – and then rounds with Mark Kennedy, and they can be even harder, he’s just walking forward with the bodybag on, he is a walking bodybag!”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie