It got to a point where Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan [30(21)-4(3)] was more likely to be seen on the Great British Bake Off than shooting for greatness in the ring.
Mid-lockdown the Cork favourite found himself favouring flour and a rolling pin over his gloves and a heavy bag as he got massively into baking.
Not an obvious negative – or a negative at all – but it sparked a sequence of events that lead to Murphys Boxing star man considering retirement.
The former Irish champion got as fond of consuming as he did creating confectionary and it lead to a lethargic period. O’Sullivan, who had found himself fitter than ever in recent years, stopped living the life as lockdown progressed, and with no end in sight, the fighter, who has recently relied on travel to America to fight thought the end was nigh.
“There was a point where I thought I’d never fight again,” O’Sullivan told Irish-boxing.com.
“Being at home, with the gyms been closed and not been able to travel more than 5km for a long time, I didn’t train as much as I should have. I also got into baking in a pretty big way during 2020.
“My kids loved it but my problem was eating way too much cake and bread and then, as a result, you wouldn’t feel very energetic come evening time. I have a habit of making oversized dinners too, so then after that, I’d find it hard to get up and go out for a run, so I put on a lot of weight.
“Then when I did eventually take back up running to lose weight I got a condition called plantar fasciitis which inhibited my ability to actually run. It was double trouble then and I put on more weight. Again I felt like sh it and I was watching a lot of Netflix and on top of the bad diet, I was having a couple of glasses of wine or maybe a beer a couple of nights in the week, which didn’t help weight-wise either.
“It seemed to me that there was no end in sight or any sign of gyms opening, so I thought this might be it I might be done by the time things do come back.”
With retirement looming over him, the 36-year-old, who fights in Belgium on May 29, got back into the saddle, quite literally, and actually returned to Dublin and the Celtic Warriors Gym in better shape than ever.
“Luckily I started to do some strength work and punch the bag out my back garden for a bit of sanity. Then when things relaxed a bit more then I went to my strength coach’s house and we got into a great routine. I trained practically every day and I got back into running as well and cycling. I think that has saved me and I’m actually in better shape now than I was before. I’m more consistent now in my training than ever and I’m back training with Packie in Dublin and all in all I feel better than ever and I believe the best is yet to come In my career.”
While he fell out of shape during lockdown and had some troubled times Spike explains it wasn’t all bad. For the first time in 30 years, he had a break from the gym and as a fighter who camps away from home he was delighted with the chance to spend time with the family.
“I’ve been in boxing gyms continuously for around 31 years, so the break was no harm, and to be honest, even though I only had one fight in 2020 and lost it also, it was the best year of my life in someways.
“I spent over a year at home with my family mostly my children because my partner wasn’t affected workwise, she was on the front line. I still got to spend more time with her than I usually would, so that was great. Besides the homeschooling, I enjoyed it. Myself and the kids had an experience I will look back on with great fondness for the rest of my life. I don’t think we will probably ever get to spend as much time together in a year as we did in 2020.”
The homeschooling and Netflix will be put aside for a period as the Pascal Collins trained fighter prepares for his first fight since his January 2020 Jaime Munguia loss.
O’Sullivan returns in Belgium against Nodar Robakidze [13(5)-35(10)-6] a fighter he would be expected to beat without any real issue. Spike claims he is always wary over overlooking any challenge but assures that doesn’t mean he won’t be looking to stop the active Georgian.
“To be honest he hasn’t the greatest record, so I expect to win but I always do expect to win. I’d never underestimate an opponent I’ve seen on numerous occasions a lad upsetting the odds and I always prepare to the best of my ability and this fight will be no different. As always I’ll be going in search of the KO.”