Waiting on the call – Craig O’Brien to chase new dreams in 2019


Craig O’Brien achieved what he set out to do in boxing this year put the Dublin light middleweight isn’t going to stop now.

‘The Iron’ claimed the Irish light middleweight title back in March when he defeated Jay Byrne live on TG4.

O’Brien was back on a TG4 card on Friday night although this time before the live broadcast began.

Following his Irish title win, O’Brien took a relatively short-notice fight with Matchroom starlet Anthony Fowler in London in July where he was stopped in the sixth round.

The Northsider had put in a good performance up to that point and believes he can learn and improve from this experience.

The new journey began at the Royal Theatre in Castlebar on the Ray Moylette Homecoming card and O’Brien knows he could end up anywhere.

Getting back on the horse, the 29-year-old scored a maiden stoppage of journeyman Almin Kovacevic in Mayo, dropping the Croat thrice in the second to halt the fight.

Speaking to Irish-Boxing.com afterwards, the always-honest O’Brien said “listen, a win’s a win, especially after the last fight.”

It wasn’t that there was nerves, but, the last fight was July. So you’ve August, September, October, November, December, five months, it’s a long ‘aul time, that’s only my third fight this year.

“He wasn’t a world beater and it was about getting the rounds in, it wasn’t a TV fight so there was no point in getting anybody great.
I tried to defend the Irish title at light middleweight and there were one or two opponents asked. One couldn’t make the weight, one or two weren’t eligible so that was scrapped. There was nothing else I could do so, at that stage, it was just ‘let’s just get the win.”

“9 and 1 now, it sounds good, I’ll push on again in the new year and we’ll see what happens.”

The next immediate goal for O’Brien looks to be a U.S. debut on a big card next March

The inner-city favourite outlined how “please God I end up in Boston on Paddy’s Weekend.”

“Spike we’ll be out there for Paddy’s Weekend and, please God, I get in off the back of it. It could be a six rounder, eight rounder, anything just to get in there – although I still have the Irish title, I would absolutely defend that out there.”

“Sure, they love the Irish out there, don’t they?.”

Of course, should TG4 look to continue broadcasting boxing in the new year, the likeable O’Brien is certainly one that could be looked to to feature on any Dublin cards.

The Celtic Warriors fighter reasoned that “TG4 showed me boxing for the Irish title, it was a great fight and a great atmosphere. I brought a crowd here [Mayo], I bring a crowd everywhere, but I can also fight.”

“You never know, boxing is a funny game, you could get a phone call tomorrow and it could change your life, you just have to keep training.”

Reflecting on the funny game in 2018, O’Brien feels “it’s been a good year, highs and lows.”

“I won the Irish title, I went and fought on Sky Sports which was a great thing but it didn’t work out. It was a bad result but I think I showed I’m not far off that level.”

“At the start, a dream of mine was the Irish title, I’ve got that so now I’m chasing other dreams. Everything is a bonus.”

“Big thanks my sponsors, Blakestown Carwash, Dublin Plumbing and Gas, Carrick East Construction, and everyone who has followed me this year.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie