‘I Felt Like I Belonged’ – Daniel O’Sullivan at Home in the Pro Ring

He could have been forgiven for feeling like the odd one out. The one fighter on the bill who didn’t take up boxing at a young age, and didn’t have prolonged amateur previous, may have felt somewhat out of place on the Summer Brawl card last Saturday.

However, Daniel O’Sullivan [1-0] couldn’t have felt more at home in a cramped Europa Hotel dressing room ahead of his first-ever pro fight. In fact, so familiar were the surroundings that the debutant felt no pre-fight nerves whatsoever.

Having coached the now-retired Lynn Harvey and provided seconds for the likes of Spike O’Sullivan, Stephen Ormond, Luke Keeler, Ray Moylette, Craig O’Brien and others, the light middleweight has more dressing room experience than most. The Dub has been backstage at big, small and midsized shows around the world, so felt unusually comfortable ahead of his pro bow.

That pro fight exposure also meant the ring walk, the fight, and the whole experience was navigated without anxiety.

“You know it was actually mad, in the amateurs I used to get soo nervous. I’d be shitting myself before fights,” he told Irish-boxing.com.

“Whereas here tonight I felt more at home, I’ve been around this environment before, I’ve been around big fights and all sorts of dressing rooms.”

O’Sullivan also revealed going to battle against a pro was less daunting than getting ready to face an amateur and being judged under amateur parameters.

“The amateurs was never really my game. Getting the little gloves on, it just felt right, as I said I felt at home.

“I actually didn’t get that little adrenaline rush, obviously, that will come with bigger fights, but I felt so comfortable and I felt like I belonged there.”

O’Sullivan certainly didn’t look out of place as he outpointed Luke Middleton over four rounds. In fact, the 154lb hopeful with a unique back story, showed enough for fight fans to start talking about where he may go rather than where he came from.

The Pascal Collins trained fighter was content with his performance against a notably tough journeyman – but admits he was hoping to register a statement stoppage.

“It’s my first fight so I was happy enough with it. I was saying before it, that he’d only been stopped once so I’d like to have stopped him.
I thought I hurt him with a right hand and then I fell in like silly because obviously if you hurt lads in the gym you step back, whereas that was the first time I hurt a lad in a fight and I was falling in and jumping in. I caught him with a couple of body shots and I was talking to him. I was saying to him ‘come on have a go, have a go.” And he says no ‘you’re all right’

“The start of that third round I thought he was bolloxed but he came out and had a go, which is good because I got hit and I wanted to get hit. I wanted to feel what it was like getting hit with the little gloves, obviously, he’s not the biggest puncher or whatever but still, it’s good to
know,” he adds before revealing he got the seal of approval from a fighter who has been in with prospects across Britain.

“Afterward he said I was very good and I was strong. He said I would benefit from more experience and he was impressed.”

It’s been a long road and a unique journey for O’Sullivan but not one that ended on Saturday, ‘Daniel-San’ is determined to forge a career for himself and hopes to be eyeing up domestic clashes by the start of 2023.

“I’ll be looking to go into the light-middleweight division,” he says after debuting at middle. “It’s a good division and eventually I’d be looking to fight the Irish lads. That bleeding broke my heart, and fair play to all the lads buying tickets it was brilliant. I was only really paying for my opponent to come over after paying to get on the show. If I fight Irish lads even if your not making money, you’re not losing a lot of money and who doesn’t like 50/50 fights. Maybe one or two more then look at it there are plenty of lads there.”

Does he want to name-drop any?

“Ah no it’s only my first fight!”

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