‘I am at that level’ – Craig O’Brien taking confidence from NXTGEN Conway defeat

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Craig O’Brien believes he proved he is on a par with the host of exciting British level names doing the Sky Sports rounds at present.

‘The Iron’ suffered at the gloves of a Matchroom prospect for the second time on a NXTGEN TV card just before Christmas.

However, he took a lot more from his points reverse to Kieron Conway than he did to his stoppage loss to Anthony Fowler.

The popular inner city Dub wasn’t out of his debt against a big middleweight who recently drew with Ted Cheeseman in a British title fight.

The 29-year-old Irish champion compared favourably in terms of skills set, seemed a match for his opponent in the determination and heart departments meaning he wasn’t overly down beat coming out the wrong side of a points reverse.

“There wasn’t a lot between us. I’m at that level,” O’Brien told Irish-boxing.com.

“To be honest it does give you a boost in confidence. I deffo do feel I’m at that level now,” he added.

While O’Brien takes solace from the fact he performed admirably there are a few elements of proceedings that did niggle at him.

The Celtic Warrior Gym fighter feels fitness played a part in him just competing rather than winning.

“I watched it once about a week after the fight that was it. It’s hard to watch after getting beaten but I wasn’t happy. I felt if I was a bit fitter and stronger I could have a had lot better moments in the fight. A few more weeks of tranning would of done me the world of good,” he added before pointing out the Northampton fighters busy schedule was also an advantage.

“I think he was a bit sharper, as in the sense he had back to back fights and tranning camps. Like he had a 12 rounder in the summer and 8 rounder then in October. Where as I had a six rounder in July and that was it, so that played a big part.”

The fighter renowned for having a high boxing IQ also claims he learnt a lot from the bout, meaning if he gets another big step up chance he won’t just prove he isn’t out of his dept, but may be able to swim to shore first and get the win.

“I learned a lot, it was the best fight for me experience and learning wise. First think is to be super fit next time. You have to be getting a full training camp in to compete against these boxers. Second is just to be yourself and relax in there, which I did at times, but could have done more of.”

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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