The 22-year-old goes into his fight on the Ulster Hall ‘A Night to Remember’ card off the back of a surprise knockout defeat suffered in Liverpool last July and feels like he has to impress on his return home.
Indeed, that’s exactly what ‘Thunder’ plans to do at the iconic venue on a card that includes recent world title challenger James Tennyson, recent British title challenger Paul Hyland Jr, Tommy McCarthy, Luke Wilton, Cathy McAleer, as well as domestic dust ups between Karl Kelly and Feargal McCrory and Joe Fitzpartick and Stephen Webb.
“I’m over the moon to be fighting in the Ulster Hall it’s a venue I always wanted to box in. It’s an iconic place for boxing, and I’m glad to be on a card with fighters like James Tennyson and Paul Hyland,” he told Irish-Boxing.com before addressing the pressure.
“There is big pressure to perform but I will.”
While the final-round stoppage defeat to Taka Bembere may have increased the pressure on the novice pro it hasn’t necessarily dented his confidence.
The frustrating thing for him is the fact his loss, where he was dropped in the fourth before being stopped with just seconds to go, hasn’t really been viewed in context.
The fact the lightweight bout played out down a small hall card in Liverpool meant very few Irish boxing fans saw it and he believes it looks worse on BoxRec than it actually was.
“In my last fight until the last round it was probably one of the best performances I’ve put on. I was just unlucky to get hit a huge shot with four seconds to go in the fight.”
The prospect does take responsibility for the reverse and knows there are issues he has to address moving forward, with Fitzsimons pointing to weight issues and inactivity as factors which he plans to reverse in the coming months.
The fighter noted how “this is what happened and I’m not one to put stuff on Facebook because it’s not what I do. I accept the loss and whatever criticism comes with it but I hadn’t fought for 14 months.”
“I was up at 70kg eating shit and drinking. I then boiled myself down to 60.5kg flew over the morning of the fight and was made to weigh in three hours before the fight. Usually I don’t mind boiling down but you need some time to rehydrate and I didn’t have any.”
“I felt terrible and looked terrible, even had family members tell me not to fight because the weigh in was just a few hours before the fight and they saw I was nowhere near 100% but it was my own fault I chose to kill myself to weigh in when I shouldn’t have.”
“The opponent came weighing in five pound heavier but I didn’t care because I brought a good few over to Liverpool and I knew he wasn’t great.”
“I went out the first round and didn’t get hit once boxed the head off him. I thought I hurt him a lot of times and probably could have pushed the stoppage but I didn’t have that extra bit of energy I needed. The second round was the same, and the third I just jabbed and moved maybe got hit once with a left hook.
“Then when the fourth round came I was just moving I had nothing left in me, no punching power or energy. I almost got through it but with a few seconds to go I went to throw a jab he slipped it and came over the top with a huge right hand and it put me down.”
“I was trying to get up but I was dazed. And the referee only gave me a four count I’d have liked to been given the full count to see if I could’ve got up. Since the fight would’ve been over as soon as I stood up anyway.”
Regardless of what has gone before, Fitzsimons is looking forward to a good 2019 starting with a win on February 9th.
After that the Assassin Boxing fighter is looking to keep busy and push himself into title contention.
The West Belfast prospect outlined how “in 2019 I want to fight for my first title. For some reason I have seen people mentioning my name probably because of that loss against an opponent who obviously isn’t great but if that’s what it took for people to start mentioning my name then I’ll take it.”
A couple of people mentioned my name at lightweight, I’m currently walking around 9st 5lbs (four lbs under lightweight limit), I could probably make featherweight in all honesty. I want to get a couple of more fights, gain a bit more experience and then push on and fight for titles. I’ve never had regular fights but Kaz [Evans] and Connor [Slater] I know will do a good job with me.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)