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No Fuss – Thomas O’Toole happy with underdog tag ahead of Hyde final

The most laid-back fighter tomorrow night at the National Elite Senior finals will probably be Thomas O’Toole.

The Galway southpaw has reached the light heavyweight decider and will face Cork’s Tommy Hyde at the National Stadium, live on TG4, but O’Toole believes there is no pressure.

The Connemara fighter feels that the attention, the expectation, and the pressure is all on Hyde due to his family connections – father Gary, a top promoter, and great uncle Tommy, a former Senior champ.

O’Toole, on the other hand, comes into the championships off the back of a short camp, is only returning from injury, and is stepping up in weight.

The dornálaí as an Gaeltacht is a fighting man and entered the championships, his first Elites, because that’s what fighting men do.

O’Toole told that “I only came back at Christmas so I’ve only had a few weeks of training too but I’m in the final.”

“I thought Joe Ward was going to be in and I believe that to be the best you have to fight the best. I only found out the morning of the weigh in and it was like ‘Oh, I actually have a chance of winning!'”

“I can’t believe I’m in a final, I’m the first from my area to be in one. I’m in Connemara, from ‘The Islands’ as they call it, the arse end, right on the coast, next stop America.”

The Celtic Eagles fighter is open and honest about the fact he is not a fully-fledged light heavyweight.

O’Toole certainly felt this in his semi-final with David Bicevas last week which he won via a 3-0 majority decision.

The 21-year-old described how “it was a very hard fight. He came at me like a train.”

“That was only my second fight at 81kg, I fought at the Haringey at 75kg back in June but then I had had an injury, I hurt my hand, so I worked on my legs a bit to build into 81kg.”

“It was good to get three rounds in, he came at me fast. It was a tough fight and I was delighted to get it. He was a great opponent.”

“I have the height, but I don’t really, in terms of my strength, have it as I’m only just moved up to 81kg. I make the weight easy enough and there’s definitely more building to be done. Your skills can only take you so far before it becomes a fight.”

“I was a bit shocked in that fight but we’re going to keep going on, see how we get on.”

One of four Galway fighters in the finals, O’Toole believes he is a firm underdog but is looking forward to the scrap.

The Westerer noted how “Tommy Hyde, he’ll be the favourite. I know I’m the underdog going in.”

“There is a big fuss made about him, I’m not going to lie, there’s a big fuss made about him, after his grand uncle, he has the pedigree. I watched him at the Haringey and he won the final, by stoppage, and is a great lad.”

“I’m going to be the underdog and I know to win I’m really going to have to ‘win’.”

“I’m looking forward to it, it won’t be as high-paced as the semis, but I’m looking forward to challenging myself and improving. The big fights are when I box my best.”


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: