Owen O’Neill [7-0] says he did all he could to accommodate ‘buzz kill’ Jordan Lattimer.
The Belfast fighter was set to trade leather with the Manchester puncher of Sligo heritage on last Friday’s Conlan Boxing card.
Indeed it was one of the most anticipated clashes on the card and one that promised to deliver fireworks but ultimately a fight that didn’t happen.
Lattimer pulled out at late notice, prompting some to question whether he fancied it or not, he has since cried foul, but ‘Triple O’ says he did he all he could to make sure the fight went ahead.
“My manager Leonard [Gunning] said his manager said he can’t get under 74kgs. I was like right I don’t care, I don’t care [what weight it’s at]. By Wednesday I knew he had problems with his weight. I just thought he was gonna’ come in at a different weight [to the agreed one]. I said I’d fight him at 84 kgs. I told them I didn’t give a shit what weight he came in at as long as I get the fight.
“Then his manager phoned Leonard again and said I can’t get a hold of him. We thought he was sleeping because he had to catch a flight early in the morning. The next morning I went and made weight and Leonard phoned me and said listen he didn’t board his flight. His manager drove to his house and he’s not there, so I was like what the hell’s going on here?
“I flipped big time.”
It was heartbreaking for ‘The Operator’. He was expecting to compete in a profile-raising fight live on ESPN+ across America and was planning a win he was assured would secure him a Celtic Title fight – and ended up in an exhibition.
“I’d been on a real buzz for two weeks. I was fighting in the Ulster Hall and was told it was gonna be the first tv fight. I would have been live across ESPN and live on IFL TV all over the world. Then on Wednesday’s media day, I was buzzing. It was my first time doing something like that. I did about ten interviews and I was loving it.
“Then I was waiting to weigh in and I said to the fella ‘am I not due on the scales’ and he said my fight was off. It literally hit me there. His manager messaged me apologizing, fair play to him.”
The Cliftonville favourite part took in an exhibition with fellow Boxing Ireland fighter Dominic Donegan at the venue and revealed both had pushed for it to be a legitimate contest.
“We both agreed to fight each other in a six round contest but the Board wouldn’t allow it. We were gutted. The only option was an exhibition,” he adds before revealing a silver lining and the fact he has been assured of a place on the next Conlan Boxing card.
“They’ve told me I’ll be fighting on their next show, it’s bigger opportunity’s and it’s on tv, so it’s a no-brainer for myself.”