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Paddy the persuader – O’Neill pushed toward pros by Paddy Gallagher

More noted for dissuading pros from fighting by landing big shots Paddy Gallagher actually persuaded Owen O’Neill to go pro and gave him the final pushed needed to ditch the vest.

O’Neill has always been one of those ‘suit the pro’s’ style amateurs due to his aggressive approach, but it seems he wasn’t always too sure if he had the dedication needed to punch for pay.

However, upon getting himself fit and getting his mindset right working alongside ‘The Pat Man’, the Belfast welterweight was ready to fight again.

The 23 year old had the amateurs in mind, but club mate Gallagher assured him he was pro ready and advised him to take the contract on offer from Boxing Ireland.

O’Neill, who has done nigh on 200 tickets for his debut, is now glad he took the plunge and can’t wait to fight with eight ounce gloves on come the Devenish this Saturday.

“I feel great I have been training since the January 1 non stop. I have been sparring Paddy Gallagher, Steven Donnelly, Taylor McGoldrick, Tennyson them all and I just can’t wait to do the business now and get in and fight,” O’Neill told Irish-boxing.com.

“I woke up after Christmas and said right it’s time to knuckle down and do this right. Dennis (Morrison) and Leonard (Gunning)  were on to me before Christmas about turning over and I was training looking to see what amateur tournaments were coming up. Then I started sparring Paddy Gal and he was like don’t wait around just go over.”

O'Neill Gallagher Hyland

If the knowledgeable Belfast fight fraternity are anything to go by the Gerard McManus trained fighter should look at home in the professional ranks.

They have certainly been telling him for a long time that the pros is where he belongs – and if anything Saturday will prove worth it just so O’Neill doesn’t have to listen to that particular speech anymore.

“I am a come forward fighter, but I am trying to turn myself into an all round boxer. Still, I am known to be a come forward and aggressive. I am like that in sparring or whatever fight it is.

“I was sick of people telling me ‘you’d be a great pro’. Anytime I lost in a close amateur fight that’s all I would hear. People would say they liked my style and that it would be entertaining in the pros- and I am here now.”

O’Neill debuts against a fighter well known to these shores, Radoslav Mitev. 

The Bulgarian’s last visit to Ireland ended with him stopping Martin Wall in Dublin, he also took big punching Rohan Date the distance in his last contest against Irish opposition. The likes of Phillip Sutcliffe Jr, Tony Nellins, Bernard Roe, Keane McMahon, Gerard Whitehouse and Lewis Crocker have all been in with the journey man.

O’Neill is expecting a tough enough test, but is looking forward to it.

“He fought them all and beat Martin Wall. He is a tough wee lad and I can’t wait to get in against him.”


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com