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Preaching patience – Craig O’Brien wants to do things right rather than rapid

Craig O’Brien [11(1)-2(1)] is adamant he wants to take the right steps rather than do the quickstep once he gets back on track with a win next month.

The Irish light-middleweight champion hasn’t graced a pro ring in over 15 months – and like a host paid punchers has had to endure a frustrating period of inactivity.

The Dubliner returns alongside the majority of his Celtic Warrior stablemates in Belgium on March 20.

And while he is keen to get busy he is determined to avoid any ‘make up for lost time’ approach.

The 31-year-old, whose two career defeats came on Sky Sports Matchroom shows, wants to make measured moves to ensure success.

“I don’t feel pressure to move quickly,” O’Brien told Irish-boxing.com.

“I am 31 years old now and I know boxing won’t be around forever, so this time I want to do everything right. Everything right as in training super hard, picking the right fights and taking the right fights at the right time,” he adds before revealing he believes patience will reap rewards in the form of titles.

“I 100% believe if I do things right I can win big fights and titles over the next 12 to 24 months. There is an extra step in my training this time around and I am really looking forward to seeing what the next year or two has in store.”

After having a 15-month gap between his last two fights, the Pascal Collins trained fighter is adamant the distance between fights will greatly be reduced moving forward.

“I am hoping to be out soon after my fight on March the 20th and hopefully then fight back in Ireland or even Boston.”

‘The Iron’ believes that kind of packed schedule is vital to any potential success.

“The initial plan for 2020 was to try get a roll of fights. In 2019 I had 3 fights but there was 6 months gap between my second fight in July and then my fight in December. I just feel that doesn’t help me when going into big fights the more I stay busy the sharper I am I think.”

The focus now is just on March 20 and his fight with Jordan Grannum [5(0)-73(1)-2] in Belgium.

The Cetlic Warrior Gym fighter hopes to get rounds, something his opponent generally gaurantees.

The English journey man has been stopped just once in 73 defeats – that reverse coming against the ever aggressive Monaghan fighter Aaron McKenna.

“March the 20th will be my first fight in 15 months, so I want to get the rounds in. In saying that I’m training super hard and looking to put in a nice performance. I plan to bring into the ring what I am working on now.

“I really feel good to have a date and get back in the zone again plus there is a big buzz around the gym with eveyone fighting so it’s good to get that feeling again.”

O’Brien hasn’t been idle during his time out. He revealed he has trained hard since the first lockdown and enjoyed some time with his family and children.

The 31-year-old has also returned to education and as well as bettering himself is working with TRY to give back to the Inner City Community.

“I am doing a Diploma in Community Addition Studies for drugs and alcohol. I’m really enjoying that, the bad thing is it’s all on Zoom at the moment but i hope to push on in September for a degree so hopefully, we are back to normal.

“At the moment I am doing some assessment work with a project called TRY [Target Response with Youths] and Meanly. We work with youths and young adults with addiction and try and bridge the gap and set them up in places where they need help and can better themselves, so I’m really enjoying that,” he adds before giving the mandatory shout out to his sponsors.

“Just a quick shout out to my sponsors. CARRICKEAST CONSTRUCTION LTD. DUBLIN PLUBMLIN AND GAS and IRISH ROOFERS. I’m so grateful for their help and support.

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