Corkman ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan Fighting For World Title in Brooklyn Saturday

Gary "Spike" O'Sullivan. Photo by Ryan Hafey Premier Boxing Champions

Michael Dorgan Twitter thumbnailMay 26, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

County Cork’s Gary Spike O’Sullivan is determined to leave Brooklyn’s Barclay Center with a world championship strap around his waist Saturday – and if he’s successful he will be Ireland’s oldest ever world champion.

The 37-year-old Mahon Man has had a stellar career – 31 professional wins from 35 bouts with 21 knockouts — but a world title belt has so far eluded the power-packed puncher.

Spike takes on Cuban American Erislandy Lara for the WBA regular middleweight in a Mayweather Promotions event. The fight is the co-main event of the Gervonta Davis-Rolando Romero pay-per-view card.

Lara, 39, a southpaw, is known as a gifted technician and has had an illustrious career – losing only three times with one of those being a split decision against boxing’s hottest property Canelo Alvarez. He is a short-priced favorite to beat O’Sullivan.

Nevertheless, O’Sullivan sees Saturday’s bout as destiny calling, even though he’s had only five weeks to prepare given he got a late call-up and took the fight at short notice.

“It’s a tall task. But I have been working my b*llocks off. I am going in to win, but I am not a fool either. It will be very tough,” O’Sullivan told the Irish Examiner.

“It’s impossible for Lara to be hungrier than me on Saturday. He’s after making a good few million now. He might be a better pure boxer than me, but I doubt he’s physically stronger than me and I have to use my advantages in there too.

“Take him to places he doesn’t want to go. I’ve been studying him and he is hard to knock out of his comfort zone.

O’Sullivan’s only defeats have come at the hands of world champions: Jaime Munguia, David Lemieux, Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr. have all toppled the ‘Celtic Rebel’ but O’Sullivan believes he has what it takes to make Irish boxing history.

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Lara (L) and O'Sullivan (R) Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions
Lara (L) and O’Sullivan (R) Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions

O’Sullivan went down to Munguia in a January 2020 bout and has only fought once since then – defeating Nodar Robakidze in Belgium 12 months ago.

“My layoff doesn’t mean a great deal to me. I’ve sparred three days a week during training camp,” Sullivan said after Wednesday’s public workout.

“So any ring rust has been shaken off in camp.

“I’m looking forward to fighting at Barclays Center. It looks like an amazing atmosphere from everything I’ve seen and it’s going to be an honor to step into the ring.

“The first thing on my mind is beating Lara on Saturday. I’m ready for this opportunity.

“I wouldn’t say that Lara has fallen off. He’s still a great fighter. He might even be more powerful than he’s been in the past.

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“He sits down on his punches much better now and I think that suits me even better.

“I look forward to sharing the ring with Lara. I’ve got a good chin and I’m a tough man. I’m facing a great boxer who would give anyone trouble.

“I have to find a way to overcome that.

“I always come to fight. I’m coming in there to take him out. My mission is to stop him.

“I want to become the first man to stop him.

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For a terrific insight into O’Sullivan and his career, check out this Irish Examiner Podcast