Shauna O’Keefe confirms the rumours are true and predicts she will bring different level power to the female pro game.
Talk doing the boxing rounds suggests the proud Tipperary lightweight has been doing damage in sparing, hurting and even dropping some big names and bigger rivals.
As expected, the recent National Elite Champion won’t go into specifics concerning gym stories but turns over tomorrow night confident she will be one of the biggest punchers in the 136lbs division.
“100 percent I’m power punching. I am 100 percent a big puncher,” she tells Irish-boxing.com
“I generate an awful lot of power and I’m really really tough. I can give a hard punch and take a hard shot. There is a lot more development I still need to do, but I believe I’m going to get stronger and stronger as the fights go on,” she adds before going into as much detail as boxing ethic allows when it comes to sparring stories.
“I’ve been rocking girls with punches, I’ve been sparring welterweights, pushing them back and hurting them with punches which is good.”
There is a space in the women’s boxing market for an aggressive operator with one-punch knockout power. KO artists are few and far between, so if the former Irish amateur international is as explosive as her coach Kevin Mitchell suggests, the new to-the-pro scene fighter could quickly make inroads.
That lack of raw power and physicality is something O’Keefe noticed was lacking from the women’s game upon returning just over a year ago, so she set about ensuring she had both. The fighter with an amateur win over Amy Broadhurst did so, not so she could carve herself a power-punching niche in terms of the marketing side of boxing, but to give herself an advantage – and thus increase her chances of achieving her many goals.
“I made a conscious effort to focus on my S&E when I came back,” she adds.
“I watched the women’s game amateur and especially pro and the one thing I noticed that was lacking was physicality. I don’t believe they focus on their strength as much as they should and it’s so vital in this game.
“There are so many benefits to it. I’ve been working on it for 18 months and built a lot of size. I’m generating a lot of power. Now it’s about executing that power, swiveling through your shots, and sitting down on them.”
‘The Hammer’ faces a difficult debut at the famous York Hall on Friday night.
Standing opposite her in her first paid bout will be Vaida Masiokaite.
At first glance, the Lithuanian with 20 defeats doesn’t look too threatening but those in the know will be aware of what she brings to the table.
Not only is she tough and forever game, but the 36-year-old comes into the fight on the back of two upset wins having outpointed Charlie Sutton and Kerry Haley in November and October respectively.
Irish fighters have also discovered she is difficult to deal with, as she defeated Cathy McAleer and drew with Cheyane O’Neill on her debut.
The Clonmel native admits she fights Masiokatie out of necessity rather than choice – but is happy with the chance to lay down an early marker.
“She is the only opponent that will take the fight. The promoter found it extremely hard to match me.Word of mouth gets around and people start talking about you, then people look to avoid you, so she is the only one that took it. I don’t mind the challenge. It is a tough opponent but I can make a statement with this opponent once I do everything correctly.
“All I am going to do is just go in and enjoy the fight. If I get the rounds so be it, if I get the stoppage so be it. I’m not going into the fight with any sole intention.”