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Smiles Better – Owen O’Neill ready for a fresh start

Owen O’Neill is back smiling that cheeky smile.

The Belfast fighter is happy again after securing a fight date and sorting out his future.

‘The Operator’ was left gutted as a demi domestic step up clash set for the Ulster Hall and an ESPN+ card was scrapped last minute last year.

And with Boxing Ireland in a period of transition, he couldn’t get over that disappointment by getting back on the horse and riding to victory and was thus left frustrated.

So to have a Summer Brawl date boxed off and a fight set in stone is massive for a delighted O’Neill.

“To have a fight date nailed in is brilliant,” he says when speaking to Irish-boxing.com.

“I haven’t been in the ring since October then I had that exhibition with Dom in November. It was getting to a point I didn’t know what was happening or what was next, so to get things back rolling here on the 25th of June makes me very happy.”

O’Neill was set for a highly anticipated fight with Jordan Lattimer on the November Conlan Boxing card, when it fell through last minute, he took it hard. Although he kept thicking away hoping to secure a similar level fight this year.

There has been rumour of a second all Irish fight being added to Summer Brawl [Graham McCormack versus Dominic Donega being the first]. O’Neill suggests he’d be ready if a fight of that note is offered but is happy to go the ring rust freeing route if that’s what Mark Dunlop believes is best.

“That Latimer fight was a big thing for me and for it not to happen on such a big stage was a big letdown. But I have been training since. I haven’t been in camp but I’ve done a lot of sparring since then, so I’m just going to see what mark decides I’m ready to go either way.”

The decision is Mark Dunlop’s to make as O’Neill has teamed up with the Belfast promoter who works with the likes of James Tennyson and Tommy McCarthy.

The Dee Walsh trained entertainer, a product of Boxing Ireland and the Celtic Clash series, has teamed up with the Belfast fight maker and is excited about the move.

“I knew Mark was thinking about having a show on the 25th of June and knew that would have been prefect for myself, so we just got talking from there,” he says explaining how the link up came about.

“I’m really excited about signing with mark what he has done for his fighters speaks for itself and I’m highly confident I can do really well with Mark and Dee behind me.”

Oneill wasn’t too keen to go into detail as to what may be in the pipeline but did say: “Mark’s talked about a few things with me but I don’t want to say too much just yet. But I’m buzzing and feel like it’s a fresh start and I’m ready to take it with both hands.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com