Undefeated Craig O’Brien ready to establish himself as Ireland’s premier boxing prospect with BUI Celtic title victory
It will be a defining moment for Craig O’Brien [5(0)-0] on October 7th.
The Dublin light-middleweight is set to fight for his first title in one of the headline fights for the Red Corner Promotions ‘Champions Elect’ card in the National Stadium.
One year ago, O’Brien was watching from the side lines. He’d taken an 18 month break from boxing and never thought that he would be in such a position.
The Irish domestic scene has embarked on a resurgence since then and O’Brien quickly established himself as one of the top prospects since returning to the ring.
“The Iron” was originally due to box former Welsh middleweight champion Lee Churcher [15(5)-3(2)-1] for the BUI Celtic title. But, Churcher was unable to make the weight and withdrew from the contest.
“[Churcher] said two weeks ago that he couldn’t make the weight so now they’ve brought in a French fella. I was told last week that he was 24 then I looked at an interview and he was 32-years-old,” O’Brien told Fightstore Media at the Red Corner Promotions ‘Champions Elect’ press conference on Thursday.
He will now box Breton’s Alain Alfred [2(1)-4(1)-1] for the title.
“I know that he was national champion as an amateur. His record probably should be a little better than what it is. I can take nothing for granted; you could be put to sleep out there in the second-round if you automatically think you’ve won it so I need to be on the ball.
“I’m the type of fighter that if you hit me then I’ll hit you three back. I won’t be complacent. If he comes in working hard then I’ll work harder.
“I’m starting to believe a lot more in myself now. With the ability and the belief, I can go places. I’m hoping that this is a stepping stone onto bigger and better things.
“We had a plan of going four fights and on the fourth fight it would be for a title. They asked me on the third fight and I accepted. It’s great to see that they [Red Corner Promotions] have the belief in me.
“This time last year I was doing nothing and a year later I’m fighting for a title.”
The title bout will also be O’Brien’s first eight-round fight.
“It’s all about timing – when to work and when not to work. I’ve trained very hard for this and I’ve had a long camp. I’m buzzing for it and the eight-rounds shouldn’t be a problem to me.”
The opportunity to box for his first title may have come earlier than expected but O’Brien firmly believes that he has shown through his hard-work and performances that he deserves the shot.
In June, O’Brien cruised to a dominant 60:55 victory over Christian Hoskin Gomez 5(1)-23(2)-3 on Red Corner Promotions ‘For Honour and Pride’ card.
He showcased his scintillating form that night, earning high praise for his stand-out performance.
“At the start of the year I boxed a six-rounder and I boxed well on the night. The opponent I boxed came to win. He wasn’t running away; every time I looked at him he was coming towards me. I out-boxed him and probably got fight of the night.
“It was a similar situation in June. I got caught with a few shots but I had the better of him. Through my performances and hard work, I’ve been given this opportunity.
“My opponents were no pushovers. Neither of them were running away from me. I was getting caught with a few little shots in my last fight in June. I was asking myself if I was winning it because I hadn’t really been getting hit before that.
“I looked back over the footage a few days later and I saw that my performance was actually very good.”
Winning the BUI title would be a defining moment for the undefeated boxer. It would mark a remarkable 12-months journey for O’Brien and clarify his position as one of the most promising Irish prospects.
“This is a stepping stone for me. It’s a dream also for me. If we win this then I might get a six-rounder before Christmas and then defend it in February. After that we’ll see who has the Irish title and we’ll push on again.
“It’s about working my way up through fights and not just jumping straight into them. I didn’t want to jump straight into this one but off the back of two good fights with good opponents, I felt that I was ready.”