‘He bottled it again’ – Jake Hanney hits out at Niall O’Connor

Jake Hanney [6(5)-2(1)] had accused Niall O’Connor [6(4)-0] of going back on a gentleman’s agreement and ‘bottling it again’.

‘The Wizard’ says he and the Ballybrack puncher agreed to fight on the proposed Celtic Clash 13 card and claims the pair were due to trade leather in Belfast in late February.

In fact, according to the Crumlin Gym fighter, the Dubliners were on a BUI Celtic Title collision course and would have fought for a title on the Boxing Ireland card, only for O’Connor to pull out.

Speaking to Irish-boxing.com, an angry Hanney said: “He bottled it again. Absolute time waster. I’m so upset.”

Hanney, who was last seen in the ring in an exhibition with Dominic Donegan, says he went out of his way to set up the fight. He alleges O’Connor was initially warm to the idea and the teams negotiated a catchweight title fight.

“I got in touch with him personally and he said ‘let’s do it’. Then Len [Gunning] and Steve [Sharpe] then talked to Packie [Collins] and I thought we were going to fight for the Celtic Title. They agreed 63.5kg and I was excited but now I’m told they don’t want it.I can’t get O’Connor, he’s gone missing, as I said he’s bottled it.”

Considering O’Connor has super featherweight aspirations and Hanney is a light welterweight, he may well have been advised against it. However, having fought just once since 2018 the Paschal Collins-trained fighter is one of many Irish fighters who haven’t the luxury of choice.

The Boxing Ireland fighter believes size was the key factor in the end.

“I’m too big, too strong and they know it,” he responds when asked why it may not happen. “I know his team told him I’d stop him in four or five, so that’s probably why he is gone missing. I’m just angry because when I say I’m going to fight I turn up and fight.”

The pair were linked previously but O’Connor, although willing, couldn’t commit to the fight, as he was studying out West and couldn’t access the Dublin based Celtic Warriors Gym.

Haney remains noteworthy fight keen and is currently exploring backup plans. The 32-year-old re dropped the name of Declan Geraghty as well as that of Scot Ronnie Clarke and Sean McComb.

“I asked my team to get me Deco [Geraghty]. I’d love that fight and fans would too. I’d love Ronnie Clark and I’d love a go at Sean McComb.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com