Undefeated light-middleweight and newly crowned Celtic champion Craig ‘The Iron’ O’Brien 6-0 is going from strength to strength. The Dubliner has bounced back from a 17 month layoff to rack up 3 straight wins and claimed his first pro title in October when he rose from the canvas to battle back and out point Alain Alfred for the Celtic strap. He fights again on Sat Dec 2nd on Boxing Ireland & Tony Davitt Promotions ‘Celtic Clash 4’ show in the national stadium, Dublin.
KO Boxing News caught up with ‘The Iron’ to see how preparations have gone for his upcoming fight and see what his plans are for 2018 –
KO – So, your having your fourth fight this year on Dec 2nd, how has training been going?
COB – “Yeah I’ve been flat out the last 10 days. I’ve been getting great sparring in the gym with the likes of Spike O’Sullivan, Bernard Roe and Vlad Belujsky, so im really enjoying it at the moment. It’s all in full swing now after a bit of a break after the last fight. Im in the gym with Paschal, then Iv strength & conditioning training three times a week.
Im just waiting on an opponent to be confirmed now, I think there’s three or four potential opponents on the cards so we’ll wait and see. But in this game you cant take any fight for granted, so il need to be 100% switched on.
KO – Looking back at your last fight when you won the Celtic Title, were you happy with the performance?
COB – Looking back there was things I was happy with and some things I could have done better. I was getting into good positions but not letting my hands go enough. And I obviously had to deal with the knockdown in the first round, which was a cracker of a shot by the way!
But I showed im well conditioned to get up from it, and I felt fresh at the end, I could have put another few rounds away. Overall, I suppose I wasnt overly impressed with the performance, but I dug in and got the win, which is the main thing.
KO – And what does it mean to you to win your first title at this stage in your career?
COB – Look it’s a great booster for the confidence. I think it’s what every pro starting out works towards. We all want that first belt, that’s what it’s all about!
KO – So, looking ahead, whats the plan for you for 2018?
COB – Il have a 6 rounder, and Il be back out hopefully in February/March. Im looking to have one more 8 rounder then build towards an Irish title shot at the end of the year. I think Pauly Upton still has the belt, so im not sure if he’s vacating or what the story is. But the Irish title is the one I want, hopefully I can fight for it in Dublin, but if I have to travel to fight for it then that’s what il do.
It’s fair to say that O’Brien has had a meteoric rise over the past year, and looks to be getting better with each fight. With the domestic scene thriving at the moment, there’s no reason that ‘The Iron’ cant be the driving force as he aims to bring big title fights back to Dublin over the next year.
* Tickets for ‘Celtic Clash 4‘ on Saturday, December 2nd, National Stadium, Dublin can be purchased from any of the fighters involved or through Ticketmaster