Owen O’Neill [1-0] is loving life and his ‘crazy’ fans.
The new to the game pro is delighted to have secured a slot on an ESPN+ broadcast, Ulster Hall hosted card less than a month after he made his pro debut – and has thanked his fans for making it possible.
The 23 year old brought over 200 supporters with him to Celtic Clash 8 and the noise and colour they brought to the occasion didn’t go unnoticed on the night.
Indeed, the O’Neill support made noise beyond the actual bout as news of what they added to the fight night traveled further afield.
The Gerard McManus trained fighter has since been added to the #MTKFightNight card and credits his addition to his support.
“The atmosphere I brought to my debut was crazy! Everyone’s talking about it and I know that’s it’s defo got me the slot on the Ulster Hall show. I’m so thankful for everyone who bought tickets off me. close to 200 there was, flipping madness. It was like a Cliftonville match- unreal.”
While talent is a key ingredient to success there are fighters whose popularity, support and fan base have been nigh on as influential.
The ability to sell tickets has or was massive in aiding the careers of wold champion winners like Ricky Hatton, Josh Warrington and even Carl Frampton.
The Boxing Ireland fighter is aware he is well off that level but his links to Cliftonville and thus Shamrock Rovers provide him with a good start – and he is hopeful the support will continue to grow.
“Let’s hope that’s the start of me having a big following. It couldn’t of went any better last time. I know with it being only 2 weeks notice for this fight I’ll not have as big as crowd as my debut, but I’ll still sold the tickets that’s been given to me.
“I’ve a big family and a lot of mates that care about me and support me. They have been there from the amateurs until now. Then as most people know I’m a big Cliftonville fan and all them boys would go to hell and back for me I know that, so yea let’s hope the support just keeps getting bigger.”
The support may have secured O’Neill a chance to impress, but he is the one that has to take it on the undercard of the eagerly anticipated Tyrone McKenna versus Darragh Foley clash.
He certainly plans to try and catch the eye.
“I’m not to fussed my last opponent was tough so I’m prepared for another one, just along as I go make a statement I’ll be happy.”
While he claims happiness will come after a good performance the welterweight can’t hide his excitement at being on such a card so soon in his career.
“I’m absolutely loving life. I never thought I’d be fighting on such a great card so early. I’m usually the one sharing things about tickets for Paddy (Gallagher) and Taylor (McGoldrick) or about them boys fighting on these shows. Now I’m sharing my own stuff unreal it is.
“I couldn’t believe (I got on the card). Two days before knowing that I was fighting on the Ulster Hall show I asked Leonard (Gunning) when the next fight will be and he said looking like early September. I had no idea I was going to be out so soon, but I was back training anyways. Proper shocked but buzzing and ready to go again.”