CORK professional boxer Gary Spike O’Sullivan recently fought to become the WBA middleweight champion, but was stopped in the eighth round against Cuban fighter Erislandy Lara in New York.
He gave it his all, but it wasn't to be for Spike.
However, he won’t give up on his dream that one day he will return home to Cork and show his children, Ashley, Tommy, Jacinta and Katie that it is ok to dream big, and return home a world champion.
Spike, who has been boxing for the best part of his life starting out a a five year old boy at home in Mahon with his father Denis.
At the age of seven he joined St Brendan’s Boxing Club in the Glen.
He boxed there for a five year period before joining Belgooly to fight under Pat McCarthy for two years.
The next port of call for Spike was the Sunnyside Boxing Club were he boxed for four years under the direction of boxing legend Kieran Joyce.
At the age of 18 he started the Loughmahon Boxing Club in Mahon with his parents, Denis and Jacinta, brothers, Tony, Trevor, Niall, Luke, George and sister Vicky.
“I started boxing when I was only five years-old in the front room of my house with my father,” Spike said.
“I then joined St Brendan’s Club in the Glen and fought there for about five years.
"My trainers there were Anthony Connolly and John Wiseman and they were very good to me.
“I then moved to Belgooly where I was trained by Pat McCarthy and only moved when Pat got a new job and had to move to Waterford.
“At 14 years of age I joined Sunnyside Boxing Club on the northside of Cork.
"I was trained by my good friend Kieran Joyce and was able to train with Irish Internationals Michael Roche and Steven Twohig.
“Four years later my family and myself then started our own club Loughmahon Boxing Club for the young boys and girls in the Mahon area.
"That was one of the most satisfying achievements in my career.
"We have produced 13 national champions over the years.
"To be able to give the young boys and girls who never boxed before the discipline and skills to become national champions is something that my family and myself are very proud of.”
Gary joined the professional ranks in 2008 at the age of 23 after over 100 amateur fights.
At that time he had won numerous national tiles at Welterweight and also represented Ireland over a seven year period.
He then received a call from Paschal Collins of Celtic Warriors and that started a amazing journey which continues to this present day.
“I fought my first professional fight in the Neptune Stadium in January 2008 when I stopped English man Peter Dunn in the sixth round.
"I wasn’t sure I would get another pro fight to be honest, but Paschal Collins rang me about going to Boston to fight a guy call Robert Harris and I knocked him out in the first round.
“I had 15 more fights in a five-year period, winning 14 of them, and only losing to Billy Joe Saunders at the Wembley Arena for the WBO International middleweight title.
“Then came one of the most anticipated fights of my career in November 2014 at the 3 Arena in Dublin when I fought Anthony Fitzgerald.
"There was a lot of needle between both of us for a number of years, so there was more that just pride at stake for whoever won the fight.
"I was never so focused going into a fight and I knocked out Fitzgerald in the first round.
“In 2017 I fought Antoine Douglas in Quebec, Canada in a Golden Boy Promotions Event for the WBO Inter-Continental middleweight title.
"I knocked out Douglas in the seventh round and that put me on the road to fight some of the best boxers in the world.
“My next fight was six months later in the StubHub Centre Carson in California and I stopped Berlin Abreu in the third round.
“I was riding on a crest of a wave when I was suddenly stopped in my tracks.
"I was knocked out in the first round by David Lemieux at the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada.
"After that fight I had to push the reset button and was back in the ring two months later in the Royal Theatre Castlebar.
"I fought Gabor Gorbics in a very tough fight and won that contest on points.
“My last fight was two months ago for the WBA middleweight title at the Barclays Center in New York where I fought Erislandy Lara.
"I lost that fight when it was stopped in the eight round, although I was disappointed at the result, I have no complaints, as I was beaten by a better fighter on the night.
“I am not sure what happens next in terms of me fighting again, but regardless of what the future holds I have to give a huge shoutout to my friend Dave O’Connor of Suits Distributors at the Business Park in the Ballycurreen Industrial Estate, as he has me suited and booted with the best Jack Doyle suits since 2007 and that gives me confidence heading into every fight.”