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Spike O’Sullivan keeping things in perspective following understated return

Spike O’Sullivan [29(20)-3(2)] is aiming to return to massive fights in the new year.

A major fight in Boston is in the pipeline and a WBO light middleweight world title challenge has been mooted.

However, before getting ahead of himself, O’Sullivan had to get back to winning ways and did so last Friday night.

Three months on from his first round stoppage defeat to David Lemieux in Las Vegas, the Cork puncher was back through the ropes in Castlebar.

O’Sullivan acted as chief support to gym-mate Ray Moylette’s big Mayo Homecoming at the Royal Theatre and scored a win over durable Hungarian Gabor Gorbics.

The game journeyman brought O’Sullivan the scheduled eight, something unexpected by many, and there were some voices critical of the Mahon man and his performance.

O’Sullivan, though, is taking everything in perspective.

The 34-year-old conceded afterwards that “it was just about getting back, trying to get a win in before Christmas.”

“I had a good workout, he was very negative, he was moving around a lot. I was the bigger man, I was outgunning him so, tactically he had to go running.”

“It was a bit frustrating in there, to be honest.”

His first fight back from the Lemieux loss and his first fight in Ireland in four years – not to mention his first ever terrestrially-broadcast bout – O’Sullivan admits that the spectacle wasn’t great, bar a pretty unique ringwalk.

“I think they may have enjoyed the ring entrance, it was a bit of craic,” he chuckled.

“The fight was what it was. It was hard to look good, truthfully. It was a negative opponent, he was short bodied, stocky, and very experienced. He was a tough bastard.”

While it was a fight that served a purpose, O’Sullivan made sure not to disrespect Gorbics, who was given a warm applause afterwards by the home support.

“I had to make sure I got the win,” he said.

“Everyone has a puncher’s chance, we saw it with Stephen Ormond [v Zoltan Szabo] two years ago. You can never be sure of the win – I’ve learnt that I can be knocked out!”

O’Sullivan has no problem addressing his violent knockout loss to Lemieux back in September – joking that he had been at the bookies ahead of the fight with Gorbics to see what odds he could get on both him and Craig O’Brien [who was stopped by Anthony Fowler in July] being knocked out by left hooks.

Odds on, apparently.

In seriousness, O’Sullivan takes a mature approach to the loss. There was no aura of invincibility shattered by his first trip to the canvas and it was straight back to work for the Leesider.

He noted how “I always knew I had a good chin – I do have a good chin, but Mike Tyson was knocked out. I was always aware that I could be knocked out.”

“I’ve always tried to keep my defences as tight as I could – except for the time against Fitzgerald which was different because of the occasion and the rivalry.

“I’ve had very little injuries and I’ve taken vey few punches throughout my career. I don’t like to give away free shots.”


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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