by Sean Lynch
Most people involved in the boxing industry know that this game can be a peculiar one. Some of boxings finest talents can go unnoticed, plying their trade on small-hall shows, tucked away from the media cameras. Meanwhile under-matched, over-hyped prospects bask in the searing heat of television lights.
One such fighter whose spent most of career to date tucked away from those prerequisite lights and cameras needed to make a star is Cork’s Gary O’Sullivan, more commonly known to his fanatical supporters simply as ‘Spike’.The popular boxer from Cork’s tough Mahon suburb, has largely languished off TV much to the frustration of his large legion of loyal supporters. But, rest assured this lull has now come to an end, and in the most exuberant of fashions. Leeside’s ‘Spike’ has landed himself a role as main support to one of the most highly anticipated and controversial fights of the year when he takes to the ring on the undercard of David Haye-Dereck Chisora at Upton Park this weekend, July 14.
‘Spike’ is schedule dangerous Manchester puncher, Matthew Hall, for the vacant WBO International Middleweight strap.
Whilst some consider Hall to be past his peak, judging by recent bouts, the majority of self labeled boxing aficionado’s are under no illusion of a easy nights work ahead for O’Sullivan.
Hall certainly still possesses the heart, skill, grit, guile and experience to provide O’ Sullivan with his biggest test to date, and is a real threat to put the first blotch on Spike’s impressive 14-0 (KO 9) record.
This is an opportunity Ireland’s current Middleweight champion is hugely grateful of and the Cork battler took some time out of the final stages in camp to speak to Boxing-Ireland.com to give us his thoughts on the biggest challenge of his career.
“This is a fantastic opportunity, believe me it’s not one I won’t be taking advantage of. It’s one of the biggest live gates in recent years with a massive world wide audience on television as well as it’s being beamed to 60 different countries including America, which in itself is priceless exposure.
“It’s what I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid. I’ve sacrificed a lot in my life to get here and nobody including Hall will be standing in the way
“I’d not seen too much of Hall before but I’ve watched a lot of him during camp. He’s a good fighter but the way I’ve been punching and considering what’s at stake here, I’ve no doubts in the winner. Only prediction I have is a Cork victory. That belts already been booked in as extra luggage for the flight home to Ireland,” blasted O’Sullivan.
Spike fought on several bills in the ‘Rebel County’ and sold enough tickets to cause the driest promoters palate to salivate and whilst riding on the back of the potential international exposure might be on many fighters minds, the Paschal Collins trained fighter, spoke of his desire to headline in his home city once again.
“Once I’ve won this belt, I’m definitely going to sit down with my team and discuss a defence in Cork. Thing’s have been quiet south of the border boxing-wise. I saw Henry Coyle announced a fight this week, why not defend against him? It’s a fight I’d love. Whether he’d accept it on not is the question,” said Spike in a tone of resignation.
In recent months Spikes endured another huge fight but this time outside the ropes, for a change. His family run Lough Mahon Boxing Club, a pillar of the Mahon community, has been under threat of eviction from their current abode of nine years and a potential relocation outside it’s current close knit locality.
“It’s been a very stressful time,” admitted Spike, “our building changed owners and for a while it was touch and go where we’d end up. We’ve over a hundred members of all ages and levels, we’ve had nine Irish Champions. Luckily we found a new building locally and it’s looking like we’re moving in October. We weren’t giving up without a fight. Our clubs too important to this area to leave it. We’re made of different stuff down here. The boxing public will see it for themselves Saturday, in Upton Park.”