Niall O’Connor hopeful of 2019 step-up following another dominant win


“Who is that? At super feather who is that?”

Usually in post-fight interviews it is Irish-Boxing.com that ask the questions but Niall O’Connor [5(4)-0] turned things around on Friday night.

The Ballybrack super feather had just dominated and stopped Polish veteran Krzysztof Rogowski in the third round at the Royal Theatre in Castlebar.

Somewhat frustrated, O’Connor was calling for tougher opposition having scored his fourth stoppage win on the spin.

While he would take one, a big all-Irish fight doesn’t look likely at this stage of proceedings. A fight with a game ‘journeyman’, someone with experience of causing upsets on the road, someone that would test O’Connor over six rounds was suggested.

O’Connor then put this website on the spot – “Yes! But who is that? At super feather who is that?”

While the names of Iago Barros and Jay Carney would come into mind later, when put on the spot, this writer’s head went blank.

“Eh… eh… eh…,” until, finally, “what about Colin O’Donovan?”

The game Cork fighter debuted on the same night as O’Connor this year and had an epic two-fight series with his Monkstown amateur clubmate Stephen McAfee.

“Yeah, I’d take that, one hundred percent,” said Nasty Niall.

Keen to be progressed following another one-sided win, O’Connor promised that “I’ll kick on next year.”

“I’m 5-0 with four knockouts, hopefully I’ll get a rise in opponents, I just need someone competitive to be honest.”

“When I’m in with someone who’s better than me, that’s when I raise my level. I can see it when I’m sparring in Celtic Warriors, the lads have a lot of time for me out there. I’m sparring some great guys.”

In terms of the Rogowski fight, O’Connor impressed on the Ray Moylette Homecoming undercard and the Gaelgeoir can perhaps feel slightly unfortunate that footage of his fight didn’t feature as part of the live broadcast on TG4.

Dropping the former EU bronze medallist in the first and the second, the fight was eventually stopped in the third with O’Connor finding it impossible to miss with his lightning right hand.

It was Rogowski’s fifth visit to these shores over the past two years and perhaps only Eric Donovan has dealt with the Pole better.

O’Connor wasn’t, however, going overboard.

The 23-year-old described how how “I’m happy enough with it, I thought I boxed okay, it was a mediocre performance, although I’m being told I looked good.”

“My jab was effective. I caught him in the first round and almost had him going with a jab. I don’t think I got caught with anything – bar his head! He caught me with his head a few times.”

“The first knockdown I went southpaw, I can switch. I was just taking one step back and hurting him, it was grand.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie