Introducing: Ryan O’Rourke – Ireland’s first new pro of the decade allergic to the vest

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When, as a child, Ryan O’Rourke pictured himself winning big boxing bouts, a vest was never involved.

The Dubliner never had amateur aspirations. Belts and not medals glistened more for a young O’Rourke.

He grew up dreaming of world title and not Olympic success. As a result there is a bit of a dream come true element to the fighter’s pro bow this week.

The St Michael’s Inchicore graduate becomes Ireland’s first new pro of the decade on Thursday night.

O’Rourke, who won Eindhoven Box Cup silver last year and took part in the most recent installment of the National Elite Championships, fights at the Millennium Hotel Gloucester in London and can’t wait to get going.

“I am excited more than nervous. I am excited to get the first one out of the way,” he told

“Professional was always the game for me. I never really had interest in staying in the amateurs. When I was young I thought about being a professional and a World champ I didn’t dream of the Olympics, so I suppose this is big for me.”

The pro focus comes from the fact O’Rourke has been exposed to the paid game for his entire life.

The new to the scene pro’s father [Steven] has coached in gyms and been in corners for the fighters entire life and so has he as a result.

“My Da has nearly always been a pro coach, he has always has had pro fighters. I have always been around pros and I just wanted to be a professional,” the relaxed youngster adds before expanding and pointing out he can only benefit from that kind of exposure.

“I have been around gyms since before I could walk. I think that might be an advantage, like I have been watching pros since I was small and picking up things a long the way.”

The father son relationship is nothing new in boxing and certainly is nothing new in terms of the sport for O’Rourke.

Having his father in his corner is just the norm for the 20-year-old and he claims the only down side is the fact it makes it harder for him to switch off.

“I am used to it now. It’s all I have known. Since I have been a kid I have been with my Da on the pads and it went from there. In fairness he has been around and he knows his stuff.

“My Da never switches off , but when we go home I like to try. I like to chill on the couch but he is non-stop boxing. ”

O’Rourke, who has Victor Rabei, Tony Brown, Paddy Nevin and the likes as stablemates, explains his style is a mix and match of all things, but notes that he does like to negate his height and have a go inside a bit too much.

“I have a bit of everything. I’d be tall for the weight, but I love fighting inside despite having a long frame. I love a good scrap and hopefully I’ll be entertaining.”

In terms of aspirations, O’Rourke wasn’t going to look beyond a busy year and he hopes to populate shows around England over the next 12 monhts.

“I just want to get the first one out of the way and from then on in listen to what my Da says and improve on things. I’d like to get six fights out. That is the plan and it looks possible,” he adds before lamenting the fact he may not have any of those first six at home.

“The first is going to be in London, I heard the second one will be in England again, but that is something I might have to get used to because there are not a lot of shows in Ireland at the minute.”


Jonny Stapleton 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: