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Same Same but different for Champ O’Neill

Everything and nothing has changed for Owen O’Neill [10(1)-0] after his win over Owen Duffy in the Domestic Fight of the Year.

O’Neill became the BUI Celtic champion and thus one of the main men in a stacked light middleweight division late last year. Not to mention, the Belfast fighter won the title via dramatic last-round knockout live on terrestrial TV, giving him a huge profile boost in the process.

It means ‘The Operator’ goes into 2023 primely positioned for an exciting year. However, while the career landscape may have changed somewhat, his approach to fights remains the same, even if he drops down the ladder to fight journeyman opposition.

That goes for this weekend as ‘Triple O’ takes on Josh Cook [0-22(1)-1] in a keep-busy fight he would be expected to win but claims he will approach it the same as he would a TV war.

“I suppose you could say [it’s a step down the ladder] but I treat each fight the same. I always have done. I don’t underestimate anyone. It’s boxing,” he tells Irish-boxing.com.

O’Neill has been linked with a number of domestic fights since claiming the strap but is content enough not making a title defence this time out.

The Mark Dunlop managed fighter understands it can’t always be back-to-back big fights and is just grateful to be starting the year so early.

“I didn’t mind [not making a title defence]. Thanks to Mark for sticking this show on. It means me and the lads can kick start this year on a high. It’s absolutely great. I have been in camp from the start of December so to get out and kick start the year is great,” he adds before playing pass the parcel when it comes to which fights may be lined up.

“There’s been nothing really mentioned. I’m not sure if Mark has had a few things said to him but I leave it up to him. He’s a great manager and I know I’m in good hands.”

Once this weekend is out of the way, O’Neill, who still beams when h reflects on his title win, is hoping to progress further and have an even bigger impact in 2023.

“It’s been massive for me,” he says reflecting on the BUI Celtictitlewin. “It’s the first title I’ve won in boxing amateur and pro so was a dream come true. But I wanna kick on too. I know I’m good enough to do well now. I’m a hard worker so that will stand by me. So I’m excited about the future.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years