With a month to go until his long anticipated grudge match with Dublin’s Anthony Fitzgerald at The 3 Arena Dublin on November 15th, Cork middleweight Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan says that a new approach to training and preparation has him stronger and sharper than ever before.
O’Sullivan fights live on Sky Sports on the ‘Return Of The Mack’ card that had been scheduled for The National Stadium in August, but he says the delay has been positive: ‘This is a Matchroom Boxing promotion and Eddie Hearn being the sharp guy he is saw the tickets sell out fast last time and moved venues to The 3 Arena where there’s room for 14,000 people. The atmosphere on the night is going to be unreal and I can’t wait. Irish boxing fans deserve big nights like this and fair play to Eddie Hearn and Matchroom for bringing Sky Sports here and making it happen.’
The Corkonian also says the extra time gave his trainer Paschal Collins an opportunity to push him harder both in and out of the ring: ‘This is the best training camp of my life. First I spent a week in London with WBO world No.2 Billy Joe Saunders and then Paschal arranged for WBC world No.1 Martin Murray and his team to spend last week with us at the Celtic Warrior Gym in Dublin. Sparring the very best is the only way to see what you’re capable of and you don’t get much better than Martin and Billy Joe.’
‘The other advantage is that I’ve teamed up with the conditioning team at the UCC Mardyke Arena in Cork. Paschal and the team at The Celtic Warrior Gym in Dublin thought that it would be good for me to have access to a world class facility close to home for in between fights and for those days that I can’t be with them in Dublin.
‘Conditioning specialists Dave O’Connell and Jeff Gomez at the UCC Mardyke have me doing things with my diet, training and sleep patterns that I’d never even heard of. Adding their expertise to my Celtic Warrior Gym training means that I’m already more flexible and explosive than I’ve ever been, and I’ll be working with them on my recovery and base fitness between fights too.’
Of his opponent O’Sullivan said today: ‘Fitzy’s wanted to fight me years and we’ve both tried to make it happen at different times, but the timing is right for both of us now. He’s done a good job of running his mouth and giving everybody a good laugh at the press conferences, but he knows what’s coming. He knows that he can’t trouble me and he knows that he can’t live with my power. He knows that better than anyone in fact because the one time we sparred I knocked him out, and a month from now I’m going to do what Andy Lee, Eamon O’Kane and Hassan N’Dam couldn’t do and knock him out again, and then he can shut up.’
Ranked 4th in the world just last year, O’Sullivan says he wants to climb the world rankings again: ‘Eddie Hearn has seen the passion of Irish fight fans for himself and I know that he’ll want to bring Matchroom and Sky Sports back here again. There’s no reason why there can’t be more big fights here in Ireland and there’s no reason why I can’t get back into contention for a world title shot a few fights down the line. I genuinely see myself as the best middleweight in Ireland and I’m going to show that a month from now by knocking Anthony Fitzgerald out live on Sky Sports in front of an Irish crowd.’