Tougher than Lat – Owen O’Neill buzzing for step-up fight

Owen O’Neill [7-0] is excited to increase both the number of rounds he’ll compete over and the level of treat this weekend.

‘Triple O’s’ first fight of the year is his first over six rounds and while he returns against journeyman opposition, Justin Menzie [5(1)-6(4)] has the potential to be tricky.

In fact, it’s been suggested this clash is a little more dangerous that the controversial Jordan Lattimar fight that was meant to push the Belfast fighter to the next level before it was canceled.

“This is definitely a step up for me but I’m ready and excited for it. It’s my first time boxing over six rounds and the fella I’m fighting looks tricky.

“When I watched Latimer he just came forward which suited me so actually this could be a harder fight.”

Menzie boxed for the Southern Area title last year, has won out of the away corner before, and looks to be the toughest opponent of O’Neill’s career thus far.

While he welcomes it, the 26-year-old hasn’t deliberately sought the step up, more it was presented to him by Mark Dunlop.

“He’s just the opponent Mark got for me. I have full trust in Mark so I’m ready to rock with him.”

After building progressively under Boxing Ireland, O’Neill suffered real disappointment when that demi domestic step-up clash with Lattimar set for the Ulster Hall and an ESPN+ card was scrapped last minute last year – and he hasn’t seen action since.

He now returns as an MHD fighter and is ‘buzzing’ to be back.

“It’s brilliant to be back in fight week again. All the hard work is done now just time to go in and do the business. I missed being focused towards something and now that feeling is back. It’s great having people wish you luck when you see them I get a buzz from it.”

Talking about the fight this weekend he is torn between wanting a first career stoppage and doing six rounds for the first time.

“It would be good to get the six rounds in as I haven’t done six yet. I still haven’t had a stoppage but we will see. I’m happy with the win and push on from there.”

The Dee Walsh trained ‘Operator’s’ fight plays out on the same card as an eagerly anticipated all-Irish clash between Dominic Donegan and Graham McCormack. O’Neill has been open about wanting to exert Ulster Intermediate final revenge over ‘The Bomb’ so has interest in the fight – but is excited to watch it regardless.

“I’m not sure who will win but it’s gonna be a cracker. McCormack’s pressure can be a nightmare. I’ve watched him box, he’s a bit like myself but if Dom is switched on he can pick him off. I’m excited for it.”

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