The Limerick-based Kerry super feather seems very a much a job at hand operator but, while her immediate focus is on March 30th and her second pro fight, she does admit that a change in the landscape has her hopeful for her own title future.
In recent years former amateur standouts have hogged the spotlight and as a result had easier access to big time opportunities.
In terms of the female side of the game, Olympians Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields have built massive media profiles which has helped fast-track them toward major title fights. The complexion of the women’s game has undoubtedly changed, with more and more top amateurs making the move – including Katelynn Phelan who features alongside O’Leary next week.
However, the fact fellow late to the game pro Lynn Harvey fights for the EBU European title this Saturday in Spain where she has the chance to make history as well as secure a world title offer would suggest there is still the potential for major success for those who entered the pro ranks with no International amateur experience, claims O’Leary.
Indeed, Harvey’s blue belt opportunity has excited and even inspired the Eddie Hyland-trained power puncher who, like the Dubliner, only started in the sport in her 30s.
“The forebearers before us like the Dierdre Gogartys and the Christina McMahons and obvioulsy Katie, they have kicked open the doors and there are different paths now,” O’Leary told Irish-Boxing.com.
“Boxing isn’t just for the elite amateurs now, pro boxing doesn’t need you to have this real serious pedigree in order for you to be successful.”
“Like I don’t have the biggest pedigree, I won’t say that I do because I don’t, but I will work harder than any other woman out there to achieve what I want to achieve,” she adds before discussing ‘The Hunter’ who faces Catalina Diaz for the EBU minnimumweight title in Madrid on Saturday..
“Look at Lynn Harvey, she is boxing for a European title, that is exciting for me,” admitted O’Leary who has naturally been linked with fellow Irish 130lber Elaine Greenan [2(0)-2(0)].
“It just shows what can be achieved and what hard work can get you.”
“For me to be part of this journey and to be one of those women it’s a honour it really is. I am grabbing this with both hands and I am loving it.”
“I am enjoying the journey now.”
The 36-year-old faces Bojana Libiszewska [5(1)-33(2)] on the ‘Clash of The Titans’ card over four rounds. The tough Pole’s only stoppage defeats have come to Chantelle Cameron and Natasha Jonas and she also controversially lost by a point to ‘Pink Tyson’ Kallia Kourouni over ten rounds.
After this, a step-up to six rounds would look on the cards and, for women, this could mean a BUI Celtic title fight, with Irish title fights over eight, and European title fights over ten.
The pathway is there…
Tickets for ‘Clash of the Titans’ cost €40 (general), €60 (ringside), and €100 (VIP) and are available from the boxers involved or Ticketmaster (CLICK HERE).