By Patrick Appleton
There will be many Irish sports fans out there who don’t know Danny O’Connor (16(4)-1-0), so for those of you not clued up with the exerts of the Framingham fighter, let us tell you this – Danny O’Connor is ready to take the world by storm, starting on the huge March 17thSt. Patrick’s Day Card at Madison Square Garden in New York
It is just reward for the proud Irish American, and he feels this year can be his year as he seeks to get the Danny O’Connor brand up and running across the Atlantic by producing the goods in and out of the ring.
“One of my dreams is to have the chance to fight in Ireland one day, absolutely. It would be a dream come true and something I’m working towards. To have a strong Irish following would mean a lot to me. Irish fans are among the best in the world. They’re hard-core when it comes to following their sportspeople and I would be honoured to have that kind of following.”
Southpaw O’Connor started boxing relatively late, but watching recent performances of the one time Olympic hopeful you would never have guessed that the Massachusetts fighter only laced his gloves for the first time in his mid-teens.
Danny is excited for the year ahead, but he takes time to mention that there might be nothing ahead for him or his fans if it wasn’t for veteran trainer Ronnie Shields.
“I started boxing a bit later than usual. I was about 15 when I started, no junior fights. I’ve been blessed by a lot of people along the way but I can honestly say that Ronnie Shields has helped me the most. He got me at my lowest point and believed in me. He made me believe in myself. He built me up and treated me like family.”
O’Connor is one of the most exciting boxers gracing America’s domestic division at the minute and he is a humble athlete, noting the influences outside the ring that keep him grounded and focused on his dreams.
“Outside of boxing my mother is a huge influence. She has always supported me and my dreams. Last but not least is my wife Diane. She is my rock, and every move I make in life is for her and my son Liam. I love boxing but nothing is more important than my family.”
It’s clear to see that Danny is a family man with ambition on his mind, and he hopes that 2012 will be a prosperous year for the O’Connor family as the man of the household has some big fights in the pipeline.
“2011 was an up and down year for me. I had my first loss as a professional with various amounts of unlucky health problems that were exposed during the fight.”
Following that loss the 26 year old took drastic action but he feels such a move was needed and he believes his sacrifices will reap benefits in the near future.
“I needed a bit of time to mend myself and following surgery I decided on rebuilding myself and the team by leaving my family to move to Texas and train with legendary coach Ronnie Shields.
“I wanted to follow my dreams in order to give my family a better life although it was a gut-wrenching decision at the time. So like I said ups & downs but training with Ronnie is one of the best moves I have ever made. He is absolutely a godsend.
“However spending thanksgiving and Christmas alone and only seeing my family 2 times in the last 7 months has been very difficult. Great achievements in life take great sacrifice and I have been making the hardest sacrifices there are to achieve my goals of world champion.”
O’Connor certainly talks the talk, and the young Irish American fighter seems to have been through it all in his career so far. He wants Irish fans to take to him like the American public have, and with that never say die attitude and fighting Irish spirit he is sure to make himself a household name in Ireland in the very near future.
Danny O’Connor – remember the name.