John O’Donnell [32(11)-2(1)] reclaimed the English title at the weekend, almost ten years on to the day from winning the belt a first time.
The London-based fighter defeated Erick Ochieng at the York Hall on Saturday, boxing to a clear win, which was ruled a split decision.
While it is an amazing comeback for the Galway welterweight, whose career had seemed to have petered out in recent years, O’Donnell views the victory as more of a stepping stone to bigger titles, namely the British belt which he unsuccessfully challenged for in 2011.
Looking back at the Ochieng bout, the 31 year old revealed that his preparations were far from perfect.
O’Donnell told Irish-Boxing.com that “we kept it under wraps, but I done my rib nine weeks ago. We couldn’t do much sparring. We went to the doctor last week, but I wont go on about it, we don’t make excuses, I went in there and boxed.”
“I thought I was up by five rounds. A couple of rounds I was a bit lazy, coasting. I don’t know what to make of the first one, I don’t know where that judge was going having it two rounds to Erick.”
O’Donnell’s eyes are now firmly on the Lord Lonsdale belt currently held by Bradley Skeete. The southpaw outlined how “I want my shot at the British now, I’ve done everything the Board have asked me to do – I’ve gone back to Southern Area level, picked up the English title again.”
“I think I owe it to myself and to everyone that believes in me, to at least get that British title. I genuinely do think that I have that British title in me. I would be content and happy with that – and if anything happens after that, brilliant. The better the opponent, the better I perform, it’s a simple as that.”
There is no love lost between Skeete [25(11)-1(0)] and O’Donnell either, and the Irishman challenged the Londoner by noting how “it wasn’t a great performance by me – so Bradley Skeete should have nothing to worry about, so he should take the fight.”
A passionate call out, O’Donnell described how Skeete is “taking a voluntary, he’s doing a lot of talking about it – so take a voluntary against me if he’s that confident he beats me, because I’ve been calling him out so many times. Take the voluntary, beat me, and I’ll shut up.”
“Definitely you can see that I’ve gotten to him. He knows I’m chatting the truth. The difference between me and him – if I say I want to box someone or do something, I’ll do it. I’ll box anyone, it’s just who I am.”
“I don’t think he’ll take it. He was the one that started chatting smack first, him and Al Smith [trainer] saying he’d stop me in six rounds, that I’m an easy fight. If he’d stop me in six rounds then fight me – the difference is, I back it up and I would fight. He’s doing all the talking, but when push comes to shove, he wont fight.”
“Al Smith has said it, he wont let his fighters fight me. Johnny Garton vacated, why would he let Skeete fight me in a voluntary? He knows I’d punch the head off him.”
Quotes courtesy of Robert Brennan