Spike O'Sullivan and Christina Desmond can't wait to step back in the ring

Spike O'Sullivan and Christina Desmond can't wait to step back in the ring

Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan during his middleweight contest with Gabor Gorbics at The Royal Theatre in Castlebar, Mayo. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

CORK light-middleweight Gary 'Spike' O’Sullivan wants to add a sporting icon to his CV - but this time he could be taking on his boss.

Ring legend Oscar De La Hoya, who promotes O’Sullivan, wants to come out of retirement-aged 47 and Sergio Martinez and O’Sullivan are in the running for his comeback fight.

O’Sullivan certainly wants to meet De La Hoya in the ring and said he has no problem with the fight which will take place in the New Year if it does go ahead.

O’Sullivan admitted that no official contact has been made with De La Hoya but vowed that if they did meet that he would record an inside the distance win.

“Boxing is the entertainment business, and Oscar is a fighting man like myself. We have great respect for each other. I’m sure after the fight was over, we would have even more respect for each other," he said.

Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

O’Sullivan is looking to close in on a world title at 154lbs and has been calling out Patrick Teixiera; the Golden Boy promoted WBO titleholder.

He’s assured that a payday against the fight legend wouldn’t affect that pursuit. In fact, he suggests the fight with De La Hoya could act as a world title eliminator of sorts.

“I’d see it not exactly as a warm-up fight but more of an eliminator fight to go on to fight for the world title,” he added, before revealing he remains a De La Hoya fan.

“I was, and I still am a fan. I think anyone who is a boxing fan has to be a fan of Oscar’s. It would be an honour to share the ring with Oscar. He is a Hall of Fame fighter and one of the all-time greats.

“Six weight and 11-time world champion and Olympic gold medallist, it would be an incredible scalp for my record and would be talked about for years to come.”

It has been a frustrating twelve months for O’Sullivan - as he has been for most boxers - because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He last fought in San Antonio earlier this year but was stopped by former World champion Jaime Munguia. The Mexican, however, repeatedly hit O’Sullivan below the belt in Texas but only received one warning.

Speaking after the fight, the Corkman said that if the bout was anywhere else that Munguia would have been disqualified.

“Munguia would have never beaten me if we weren’t in his back yard and referee Mark Calo-oy had the balls to have disqualified Munguia. He repeatedly gave me low blows and would have 100% certainly have been disqualified if it was contested elsewhere,” said O’ Sullivan.

THREE IN A ROW

Meanwhile, Cork welterweight Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s BC/Garda BC) will have to wait until next March at least to aim for her third Irish Elite belt on the trot.

The Macroom southpaw was gearing up to begin her title defence on January 8 at the National Stadium, but the tournament has been shelved because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Christina Desmond won the Echo Women in Sport Award earlier this year. Picture: David Keane.
Christina Desmond won the Echo Women in Sport Award earlier this year. Picture: David Keane.

Irish boxing chiefs are now looking at March to run the Championships ahead of the final World qualifiers for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics which begin in Paris on June 6.

Desmond beat Offaly’s Grainne Walsh in the last two National Elite 69kg finals and is the No.1 welter in Ireland.

But the Leesider will probably have to do it all again at the upcoming Elites to secure her place on the Irish team for the qualifiers.

The Cork woman lined out for Ireland at the European qualifiers for Tokyo last March but was beaten in her first fight and the European route to the 32nd Olympiad is now closed for her.

The Europeans were cancelled after three days of competition on March 16 last and nine Irish boxers will still be in play when they resume in London next April.

Belfast flyweight Brendan Irvine qualified for Tokyo in London last March just hours before the plug was pulled on the tournament. As things stand, the Antrim ace is the only Irish boxer qualified.

However, IABA High-Performance Director Bernard will be looking to get a few more over the line when the Europeans resume in London, probably at the Copperbox Arena.

All the attention will then turn to Paris. Desmond will have to finish in the top five in the French capital to book a ticket. A top-four finish (reach the semi-finals) will more than suffice.

But if Desmond reaches the quarter-finals and loses she will go into a box-off with the other losing quarter-finalists to decide the final place.

The Paris qualifiers are very much last chance saloon for the world’s boxers, and the competition will be fierce, according to Bernard Dunne.

“We will be expecting top-class opposition and seeing as it is the final chance for boxers the competition will be very tough, he said.

“We have the European qualifiers coming up first, and they will be equally as tough as Europe is a very strong boxing continent and the competition will be really difficult, but our teams will be well prepared.”

Dunne and Irish boxing have been left frustrated because of the curtailment of the sport because of Covid-19 restrictions.

However, the Irish team can expect plenty of training in Ireland and sparring camps between now and next June.

Moreover, don’t rule out the Strandja multi-nations in Sofia in February for a competitive outing before the big tests begin in London and Paris.

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