Owen O’Neill [9-0] believes he’ll have to put in a career-best performance if he’s to win a ‘proper’ fight with Owen Duffy [6(3)-2(1)] and claim the BUI light middleweight Celtic title this Saturday night.
‘The Operator’ knows his opponent, in one of two eagerly anticipated TG4 broadcast BUI Celtic title fights this Saturday, wants it as much as him, and as result is well aware the Cavan man won’t be easily beaten.
O’Neill notes ‘The Butcher’ showed true grit to get up off the canvas to win a local derby by stoppage last time out, he expects that kind of spirit and more to be on display when the prettiest belt in Irish domestic boxing is on the line this weekend.
With neither willing to take a step back and fueled by title desire, the Dee Walsh trained fighter predicts a fan-friendly clash.
“I’m buzzing I have to say, I really can’t wait,” O’Neill told Irish-boxing.com.
“It would mean a lot to me to win this title, honestly it would be the best night of my life.
“But I know it means a lot to Duffy too, so it’s going to be a cracker and I will have to produce a career-best performance to win,” he adds before doubling down on his exciting fight prediction.
“I think it will be an entertaining fight. Duffy is southpaw is awkward, he loves to come forward too, so I think there will be bits in the fight we will be going at it proper.”
The fact it’s a fight that is guaranteed fan excitement suggests it will be a tough fight for both, O’Neill certainly believes that to be the case and it’s something that excites him. ‘Triple O’ is relishing the challenge.
“It’s going to be a cracker can’t wait,” he continues.
“I know he has true grit, he got knocked down his last fight and got back up and won by stoppage, so like I said I’ll have to be at 100 percent to beat him.”
The 27-year-old Belfast light middle has been domestic fight keen and seeking a step up for well over a year, he came close when agreeing to trade Jordan Latimer and Martin Quinn, only for both to fall through.
He finally gets his chance this weekend and it comes in an eagerly anticipated title fight live on terrestrial TV, a stars aligning moment suggests O’Neill.
“I think this fight came at the right time. Also, it couldn’t have been in a better place it’s five minutes away from my house in North Belfast. I’ve had the Latimer and Quinn fights fall through, so for this to be my first domestic fight and to be for a title is amazing.”
It’s a massive fight for the MHD fighter and his excitement levels are through the roof but his pre-fight approach has remained relatively the same.
“Camp hasn’t been too different but I have been sparring well and really putting it in the conditioning sessions because this fight means a lot to me,” he continues before revealing things haven’t changed support wise.
“I have sold out of tickets again for this fight. I can’t thank people enough coming up to Christmas and still spending their money to come watch me fight. It means a lot to me and if I win this fight, I can only see the support getting bigger.”
O’Neill’s gym mate Colm Murphy defends his BUI Celtic title fight on the same card, while another of his stablemates Padraig McCrory registered a sensational IBO light heavyweight title win in Germany recently – and it’s that stoppage victory he is taking real inspiration from.
“Big Poddy’s first belt was the Celtic title so if I win this belt the sky really is the limit, and we see where we can go.”