Mandatory made Spike O’Sullivan miss out on World Title fight


Spike O’Sullivan [27(19)-2(1)] remains locked in negotiations for a fight with U.S. star Danny Jacobs, however the Cork middleweight is perhaps somewhat unfortunate not to be currently preparing for an immediate world title shot.

Should the fight with Jacobs be made, with negotiations ongoing for the headline slot on the Matchroom USA bill at the Barclays Centre in New York on April 28th, the winner will move in line as a major contender to fight the winner of the mooted May 5th rematch between WBC/IBF/WBA champion Gennady Golovkin and Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez.

However, were it not for a mandatory challenge being enforced, O’Sullivan could have found himself fighting for the WBO light middleweight title in his next bout..

In his first of four fights with U.S. promotional giant Golden Boy, O’Sullivan upset touted American prospect Antoine Douglas on a big HBO bill in Montreal last month, scoring a bruising seventh-round stoppage in Canada and claiming the WBO Inter-Continental rankings belt.

Such was the impressive manner of this victory, and the size of O’Sullivan, the outfit would have been keen to match the Mahon man with new 154lbs WBO champion Sadam Ali – who had shocked outgoing Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto in New York two weeks beforehand.

However, with Liam Smith awaiting as mandatory challenger and promoter Frank Warren looking to force the bout, this route was closed off – for now.

O’Sullivan’s trainer and manager Paschal Collins revealed to Irish-Boxing,com that “we had actually looked at Sadam Ali for a world title, but he’s already pencilled in to fight Liam Smith. If he hadn’t, Golden Boy would have made that fight straight away because he’s a Golden Boy fighter, they said they would.”

For now though, Jacobs remains the goal and, despite a few hiccups this week, Collins remains confident of securing a big money bout with ‘The Miracle Man’.

With O’Sullivan now having established himself, Collins foresees big bouts in the future – regardless of the result against Jacobs, should it be made.

The Dublin coach outlined how “there’s also the option then of, after this fight, dropping back down to junior middleweight – because Spike came in only four pounds over the junior middleweight limit [for Douglas] and it wasn’t even a struggle.”

“There’s still the option. Depending on how it goes with Canelo and Golovkin and Spike and Jacobs, there’s still the option of ending up fighting Canelo at junior middleweight.”

It all stems from the breakthrough against Douglas, and looking back at a life-changing win for the 33 year old, Collins described how “we were brought there to lose, realistically we were.”

“Spike won, he believed he could win, we knew he could win, and we trained to win – and now he’s in a position like Conor McGregor was when he had that big win in Sweden [v Marcus Brimmage]. All of a sudden the UFC say ‘we want him back, we like him, he’s fan friendly’ – but they paid to bring him back, and it’s the same for Spike, you’ve to pay to bring him back.”

“Spike will be professional at the end of this month for ten years. He’s been doing this for ten years and he’s getting the rewards, getting to the top of his game.”

“In professional boxing, being a world champion is a reward, but you also want something to show for it – a roof over your head and a few bob to put food on the table. Spike is in the position now to do that.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie