Gleann fighting machine – O’Neill hails gym environment ahead of CC9 outing

If you are indeed a product of your environment Owen O’Neill [2-0]  will be one of the happiest hardest workers in Irish boxing.

The new to the game welterweight is one member of a growing Glean ABC gym and is working under Gerard McManus and Dan Anderson.

The likes of Conrad Cummings, Steven Donnelly and Lewis Crocker have recently come in stable door in West Belfast to join a fighter of the quality of Paddy Gallagher in the camp.

‘The Operator’ is adamant he can only benefit from such a quality group and points out that work rate and humour mean he has the best of both worlds at work.

“We have a serious stable now. It’s unreal, the banter is top class and the sparring is too,” he told

“The lads all keep me right. There is no one that thinks there better than anyone. It’s just banter and grafting. Gerard and Dan are top class coaches without a doubt and that can only be good for me.

“This camp is really going to plan the weights coming down my S&C is going brilliant. I’m smashing all personal bests. I think that’s because I didn’t really take a break from the last one, I went to Wales to watch Cliftonville in Europe then straight home and back to training.”

O’Neill only debuted as recent as May, but fights for a third time since when he takes on Paul Cummings [2(0)-36(7)] on Celtic Clash 9 in October – and he is delighted with the level of activity Boxing Ireland are providing.

“It’s class. I didn’t think fights would come as quick but I’m loving it. The more fights the more chance to improve and get better,” he adds before discussing what he wants to achieve in fight number 3.

“I’m looking to bring the improvements that I’m showing the the gym to in the ring on fight night. I just have to. Leonard [Gunning] rang me and told me it was going to be a step up, but to be honest my first two fights where hard, so I don’t mind. It’s up to me to preform on the night.”

Boxing Ireland have shown they are not afraid to put their fighters in with each other in recent times, nor do they expect their fighters to reach 10-0 before placing them in domestic title fights.

With the Belfast man fast approaching five fights he may well be progressing toward a more interesting  dust up. It’s something that appeals, but he still feels he has a little more learning to do first.

“It’s definitely a target but just not right now. I know I’ve a lot of work to do and plenty of time so that’s all in the future defo,” he adds.

O’Neill is a massive Cliftonville fan and the club have been supportive of his pro career to date.

The Red have had some bad news of late with the surprise passing of Tommy Breslin, a manager who enjoyed unparalleled success at Solitude with consecutive league title wins in 2013 and 2014.

The Boxing Ireland fighter, who has dreams of fighting at Solitude,  hopes he can secure victory at the Devinish so he can dedicate it to a manager who played a massive part in some of his favourite footballing memories.

“Everyone knows I’m a big reds man. It was a shock for all the fans Tommy B passing away. He was the clubs most successful manager and we has some great years with him, they were unreal. I would love to dedicate the win to him. Hopefully the Reds have a smashing season and Tommy B helps us out from above.”


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: