Headline NewsLatestNewsPro News

‘Toughest Time of my Life’ – Owen O’Neill ready for hard rounds after coming through hard times

Owen O’Neill is looking forward to competing in hard rounds again after ending a difficult period fighting through hard times.

The popular Belfast fighter is slated to fight Dominic Donegan at the Ulster Hall on March 30. ‘The Operator’ goes into the fight excited and loving the sport again but on the back of the toughest period of his life.

Having lost his grandmother, to whom he was extremely close, last year, O’Neill had set his sights on winning the Irish welterweight title in her honour.

However, he failed to make weight for a scheduled clash with Declan Geraghty.

Speaking recently O’Neill admited he should have pulled out of the fight and wasn’t in the right head space to put in a professional camp.

‘Triple 0’ also claims the fan ire and criticism that followed made a difficult time all the more painful.

“The reality of it is I should have postponed the fight with my Nanny passing away,” he tells Irish-boxing.com in typically honest fashion.

“She was such a big part of my life and I thought I could use it as motivation but I was wrong,” he adds before revealing the fallout compounded the misery he was feeling at the time.

“It was without doubt the toughest time in my life everything just hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s a place I never want to be again. But I’ve a close family and brilliant friends who were there for me and got me through it.”

The former BUI Celtic title holder at light middleweight has come through the other side and says he is in a much better place heading into a repeat of the 2017 Ulster Intermediate final with Donegan.

The 28-year-old favourite of Cliftonville says new coach Daniel Anderson helped in that regard and certainly played a massive part in ‘The Operators’ increased levels of commitment.

“If anything it’s turned into a blessing what happened,” he explained.

“Teaming back up with Dan Anderson has been amazing. Dan has been amazing with me both in and outside the gym. I wouldn’t be back to this point without Dan.

“Having big Poddy [McCrory] as my manager and a great friend who wants me to do well has been great too. Having him backing me is huge.”

Commenting further on new levels of dedication he says he loves the feel of the whip Anderson cracks: “I’m loving training. I’m up every morning buzzing to go to training. There’s no messing, Dan is on me everyday. From early morning messages, to making sure I’m out getting steps in, to busting my balls in the gym he is on me. Brilliant loving it.”

Photo Credit Mark Mead


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years