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‘Time to Step it Up’ – Owen O’Neill Reveals ‘Big Fight’ Plans

Owen O’Neill [7-0] says it’s time to ‘step up’ and is confident he will confirm a ‘big fight’ very soon.

The Belfast light-middleweight looked more polished than ever against veteran Naseem Ali on Celtic Clash 12 last Saturday night and revealed plans are in place to enable him to eventually polish silverware.

The Dee Walsh trained fighter wouldn’t go into much detail but said a step-up big fight awaits. Indeed, he started training yesterday [Wednesday] for a pre-Christmas step up, which will presumably play out on Celtic Clash 13.

“Every fight for me now is a big fight. I have a big fight coming up, all I can say is it’s before Christmas,” he said after the shutout win.

“I’ll be back in the gym Wednesday. I’ll have a good fight before Christmas and maybe challenge for a title in two fights. Time to step it up.”

‘The Operator’ was speaking minutes after his seventh career win, he was a little put out he hadn’t been six but was delighted with how he performed.

“The was my best performance to date and I feel fresh still. My fitness is that good I could probably do another four now.

“I trained for a six-round fight but I only got told two days ago it was a four rounder. I was ready to go for six and a bit disappointed it wasn’t in the end.”

With fuel in the tank for six yet only four to be done the Cliftonville favourite was able to put his foot down and produce an extremely high work rate.

“I pushed myself every round. I didn’t take a break at any time and honestly, I could go again right now, no problem.”

Survival specialist Ali has only been stopped once in 78 defeats – and that stoppage came after he suffered a broken nose. The English fighter is the definition of tough and durable, so O’Neill took great pride in the fact he hurt him twice during the four rounds.

“I knew I hurt him once with a body shot but then afterward he told me I actually hurt him twice to the body. That’s a compliment from him, he has been in with all the top fighters and he has only been stopped once, I came close!”

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