Ryan has called out the Belfast fighter publically, claiming two fight offers to fight were turned down and accusing Team O’Neill of saving their fighter from a bad beating.
O’Neill, who claims he would have no issue fighting the European Schoolboy medal winner, admits his team don’t want the fight but points out it’s because they want him to continue to move down the scales and not because they don’t fancy his chances against the Pete Taylor trained talent.
New manager, Mark Dunlop, wants ‘Tripple O’ to fight at light welterweight, and thus doesn’t see the sense in building a fight with light middleweight Ryan.
“There wasn’t much said from me,” he says when asked about Ryan versus O’Neill chatter.
“He basically called me out and said I was looking to pad my record. I think he disrespected me a bit because everyone knows what it’s like when you’re starting out in you’re pro career, you’ve to fight this one and that one.
“It’s all down to my manager Mark who I fight. I think his team offered the fight to Mark, but Mark just signed me I hadn’t even fought a six-rounder yet, so Mark obviously said no. Mark also thinks I’m fighting at the wrong weight. Mark told me I wasn’t allowed to share anything or comment, he said there was no point because I won’t be fighting him and I’ll be moving down a weight.”
It’s all quite calm and logical from ‘The Operator’, although he was a little put out that Ryan poked fun at his record.
“Then he ends up fighting a guy I fought in my fourth fight, so listen I know what you have to do when you are starting out you’re pro career, you have to fight journeymen and gain experience. I think he disrespected me a little but we are not going to fight.”
A fight with Eddie Treacy looks more likely for Ryan at this stage but O’Neill is willing to share the sparring ring with the Dubliner. Indeed, you get the impression he’d enjoy the chance to go at it behind closed doors with the former underage amateur standout.
“I’d fight him but Mark says he wants me down at super lightweight. If he fancies some sparring he can come up and I’ll spar him no problem and we’ll see how that goes. It would be a good scrap. I’m not one to say ‘I’ll knock his block off’ but it would be a good scrap.”
The fact the Dee Walsh trained fighter is being called out by a fighter who had a lot more hype surrounding him in the amateurs and a lot more expectation surrounding him when he turned over isn’t lost on the O’Neill.
The Belfast fighter, who fights on TG4 this weekend, sees it as a compliment and proof he has done a lot right to date, he also welcomed the publicity Ryan’s calls afforded him.
“He’s a European Schoolboy medal winner and I had 18 amateur fights and didn’t win anything, so anything it’s good for me someone like him is calling me out. It’s good publicity like it was everywhere.”
O’Neill fights Marek Laskowski in front of the TG4 TV cameras on the undercard of Eric Donovan’s EU title tilt this coming Saturday.