Owen O’Neill’s attempts to speak Irish have gone so bad that he is planning on letting his fists do the talking this weekend.
One of the real characters of Irish boxing, O’Neill makes his tv debut when he trades leather at the Europa Hotel on the undercard of Eric Donovan and Khalil El Hadri’s vacant EBU EU super featherweight title fight.
The whole card, including the Operator’s six-round bout, will be broadcast on Irish language station TG4. Considering TG4’s last two professional fight night broadcasts drew in over 500,000 viewers combined, suggests it’s a massive chance for ‘Triple O’ to increase his famous fan base.
However, he admits he won’t be won’t be able to use the cúpla focal to appeal to the Irish language station’s audience so will have to impress them with his performance.
“I’ve tried here and there but it hasn’t worked out well for me,” he smiles when asked about going as Gaeilge. “I don’t want to make an ejit out of myself!”
O’Neill is adamant he won’t make an ejit of himself in the ring, claiming he has done all he can to make sure he looks good for the cameras.
“I’m really happy to be fighting on tv. This has been the best camp I’ve done. It’s been the strictest one to date too. I’ve been flat out so looking to stick a great performance in.”
The Belfast fighter was due to fight fellow character and red-head Martin Quinn on the card, only for the fight not to be sanctioned.
The Dee Walsh trained Mark Dunlop managed fighter admits he was ‘gutted’ to be denied the chance to appear in all Irish action on terrestrial tv and it’s a fight he may revisit.
O’Neill still faces a tough enough test on an undercard that includes Tommy McCarthy, Conor Quinn and an interesting Clash of Cavan between Dominic Dongan and Owen Duffy.
Former Scottish champion Marek Laskowski [9(1)-14(2)-2] comes to Belfast looking to cause an upset.
“This is still a step-up fight for me. Mark has told me he was a Scottish camp. I’m really looking forward to it as I’ve trained very hard and ready to go,” he adds before predicting “a solid win and great performance.”