Thomas O’Toole claims he would be delighted if he achieved even half of what cult hero Sean Mannion did in the pro ring.
The 2019 Elite champion treads a path previously taken by former world title challenger ‘Rocky Ros Muc,’ swapping rural Connemara for Boston to fight professionally.
Due to Mannion and his acclaim, it’s a trail with big boot prints to fill, not that that worries the Lettermullen southpaw. In fact it’s something that excites him and something he will explore with the man himself.
“Sean Mannion is a legend where I come from and to be seen as following in his footsteps is amazing,” an excited O’Toole told Irish-bxoing.com.
“[If I had] half the career he had it would be amazing. He is a man I’ll definitely go to for advice.”
In 2019 O’Toole established himself as a name among a group of young emerging amateur light-heavyweights, winning the National Elite title in the absence of Joe Ward.
As a result, many put him in Olympic pole went pro on the eve of the 2019 European Games Ward turned over. However, young talent Kane Tucker was chosen for the 2019 World Championships and Emmet Brennan dethroned him in the subsequent Elites before going on to qualify for the Olympics.
O’Toole never intended to stay on for Paris 2024 and was ready to make the switch from last year but wanted to finish college before agreeing terms with a promotional outfit.
“I always said I’d switch after Tokyo, and I picked college over boxing for the crucial year, which was the right decision for me. With Covid blocking a lot of boxing in Ireland I thought it was the right decision. I’m young so I can learn on the job. I’m excited about the future.” he adds before reflecting on his amateur innings.
“I achieved more than I thought I would as an amateur if I think back five years ago. I know I could have achieved more in the amateurs but I have no regrets.”
Although it was done by Mannion, the jump from Connemara to Boston did catch many by surprise. The 23-year-old has Ryan Roach’s Fighter Locker and will be East Coast based. Explaining how the move came about he said: “I heard about Ryan and knew America was the place I wanted to fight and after speaking with him I felt it was the right decision.”
O’Toole always had plans to return to America, where he was born and has family, but it appears he will camp at home and fight out of Boston.
The Gaelgeoir has developed a strong relationship with Pawel Popko of Celtic Eagles BC fame and it’s a link-up he wants to keep.
“I was born there and always planned on going back since I have that option, but I’m working on a career boxing wise and work-wise and Pawel is the coach I want I’m my corner. I went to him at 18 and in four or five years we achieved so much, so there’s no other man I want in my corner. We make a good team.”
Objective one for the new to the scene pro is to get back on the bike and after that he is just planning to get busy building a record and learning.
“I’m excited and nervous, with Covid I’ve been out of the ring for the longest time since I began boxing, so I’m eager to get the ring rust off. Short term I want to be active, it’ll be hard with work and what not but I’m putting the head down and will be disciplined. Long term obviously I plan to win titles and fight in big fights, but one step at a time,” he continues before revealing Roach has similar ideas.
“The plans set out for me are to stay active and try and win my first title.”