Pierce O’Leary [12(7)-0] believes he may sit down Kane Gardner [16(7)-2(0)] before people realise the English boxer is a big step up.
‘Sugar’ represents the exciting Dublin fighter’s toughest test to date and has the potential to ask serious questions of the Queensberry prospect.
The more experienced Beswick native comes into the fight in form and on a run of four straight wins, two of which were significant triumphs. In May of last year he travelled to Glasgow as the away fighter to take on the highly-rated Marios Matamba and emerged victorious over 10 rounds before, in March, he overcame Conah Walker over eight in Bolton.
‘Big Bang’ is aware it’s a fight of note on the Zhang-Joyce undercard at the OVO Arena, Wembley and is expecting a challenge.
However, he points out he was also expecting Alin Florin Ciorceri to poise potential problems in the first defence of his WBC International title in Belfast in May, only for that clash to last just 71 seconds.
The 23-year-old has prepared for rounds and is happy to win on points but does note it’s possible he could pass his biggest test before a question is asked.
“Yeah it is a great fight, a really, really top one,” considered the iBox Gym-trained O’Leary on his forthcoming assignment. “The kid has got a great record, he is very experienced, and he knows what he’s doing.
“Listen, I am expecting a great fight. Of course I expect him to bring it, every fighter expects that regardless, whatever their record is, that is the nature of the sport. I expected it in my last fight, but I got there before he could do anything!
“I was very happy with my performance and I was expecting a tough fight. I was so focused, I did what I had to do and got him out much earlier than I thought I would.
“I will do exactly the same for this fight, stay focused and take it round by round. When I focus just on myself I bring out the best version of me.”
The Dublin Dockland’s graduate also points out the level of opponent he has been given in just fight number 13 is proof Frank Warren and co have faith in his ability.
“That I am in a tough fight like this shows the belief that Queensberry have in me. He has been in tough fights himself and he has made fights tough against journeymen. I am not a journeyman, I have got a great boxing IQ and, if I stop him, I will make a big, big statement.”