A fight initially due to take place last September before that entire show was cancelled, Siobhan O’Leary [3(2)-0] is determined to take her chance and win her first professional belt.
The Limerick-based Kerry super featherweight takes on Scottish-based Greek Eftychia Kathopouli [3(0)-1(0)] for the Celtic Nations title this Friday in Glenrothes and, having received a second shot, O’Leary is not planning on letting the opportunity pass her by.
At 37, O’Leary is aware that time is of the essence in terms of her boxing career and was hit hard by the initial shelving of the clash.
The big puncher described how “I was majorly, majorly disappointed when it was called off the last time. I was more disappointed for the people that paid for flights and accommodation. They couldn’t get it back and it was more frustrating leaving people down.”
“In August and September I didn’t take the cancellation very well and it was something that pushed me down for a good number of weeks. I was very down about it and the cynical side of me came out in force.”
“At that stage I didn’t give a shit if it was made or not, but once I got the few weeks of pigging out and wallowing in self pity out of the way I got back in the gym, training properly and it didn’t take long for the fire to come back,” she adds with a smile.
“I knew the fight was there. They want the fight we want the fight. It was always there to be made.“
“I am delighted it was remade. It took a little while back and forth, but it’s been in the works since before Christmas and I am happy we are nearly there now. The last fight was called off with a week to go so until I am in there I won’t believe it’s happening. “
O’Leary steps up to six rounds for the title clash and the match-up looks like an obvious stepping stone to the first every women’s Irish title fight with Kathopouli’s Monaghan stablemate, Elaine Greenan.
However, it is one fight at a time, and O’Leary correctly points out how “I don’t have a crystal ball so I don’t know what it does for my career.”
“It will set up the Irish title if Elaine Greenan plays ball, but I don’t want to talk about that at this minute. This fight is the one I have to get through before I start thinking about what happens after this fight. The focus now is about getting the victory and bringing that Celtic Nations belt home.”
One benefit of the postponement, at least, is that it has given O’Leary more time to prepare for her first fight under new coach Pawel Popko.
The Celtic Eagles chief has come for Eddie Hyland and O’Leary believes she has moved to a new level – and will show that this Friday night.
The challenger outlined how “Pawel hasn’t tried to change much right now because that would be a bad idea.”
“There are specifics we are working on. He has me working on specific movements and punches. I don’t want to give too much, but I definitely feel I have improved a lot. I feel I have come on a lot under his guidance and his coaching.”
“He is a very very strong technical coach, he is invested and dedicated with me in this fight and he just as much wants to win as me.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guiglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)