He is the reigning champion and the man on a roll, but Thomas O’Toole believes all the pressure is on his fellow 81kg finalist this Friday night.
The Celtic Eagles fighter is in flying form and has made a name for himself as light heavyweight talent in 2019, but his new found ‘main man’ status hasn’t seemed to change his laid back approach to the sport.
The Westerner should be deemed a genuine Olympic qualifier contender by virtue of his National Elite win in February – and victory at the National Stadium on Friday will only increase calls for him to secure an International vest.
Yet, the 21-year-old intimates boxing is more a past time for him at present and as a result he has a pressure free ride come final time – and that’s something he doesn’t feel applies to his decider dance partner, Emmet Brennan.
“My performances have been okay, two great opponents two beat, especially Tony Browne, you know he’s a big name!
“I feel Tony and Emmet we’re always the biggest names in this weight. Brennan is a great fighter, he has been around a long time, is much older and more experienced than myself. I feel he has the pressure,” O’Toole told Irish-boxing.com.
“Boxing is what he does. I’m only 21, I’m in college, working nearly full time and I definitely haven’t been a full time athlete, but I’m delighted to have gotten this far.”
It’s hard to tell if the talented champion is playing mind games or speaking completely genuinely. It’s certainly a different line of approach than the majority of this years finalists and one he maintains when discussing the final further.
“It will be a hard fight, honestly can’t say how it will go. I knew earlier this year I was going to win, but this year is a much harder fight for me.”
Having won the Elites in February and after Joe Ward departed for the pros, it seemed as if O’Toole would be in the frame for the International competitions that played over the Summer.
However, he didn’t get the International vest. He reveals injury prevented him from being selected for the World Championships in particular.
Victory on Friday would allow him to raise his hand for Olympic qualifier inclusion, but he claims he isn’t looking that far ahead.
“Well I was up for assessments but then I got injured for the rest of them so therefore didn’t get selected for the World Championships. All I’m focusing on is Friday I’m taking it one day at a time and I’m just going to enjoy the occasion.”