By Niall Doran
Spike o Sullivan v Saunders: Recently I had the privilege to catch up with Spike O’ Sullivan ahead of his upcoming fight with Billy Joe Saunders.
It was a pleasure to have had the chance recently to catch up with WBO International Middleweight Champion and fellow Cork man Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan ahead of his biggest fight to date when he defends his title against Billy Joe Saunders on July 20th at the Wembley Arena.
Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan (16-0-10KOs) will put his WBO international middleweight title on the line on Saturday July 20th when he takes on Billy Joe Saunders (17-0-10KOs). This is a massive fight for the Cork native which Spike acknowledges is “the biggest fight of my career without doubt.
“He’s a very good fighter. He’s a big name in Britain, British champion, Commonwealth champion, Olympic medallist in Beijing, he’s undefeated, so it’s definitely the biggest fight of my career no doubt. It’s a big scalp for me.”
Touching on the fact that the last time Spike fought in the UK was when he took on Matthew Hall last summer at West Ham, he mentioned that this time around he has had a full training camp as opposed to taking the Hall fight on late notice “This is the first time I have had this much notice for a fight. I believe you will see the best of me for this one”.
Last month Spike had a fight cancelled in Liverpool against Joe Selkirk and is absolutely chomping at the bit for this fight against Saunders “It’s very frustrating when stuff like that happens, especially after being away from the family due to training. That’s why I’m looking forward to getting in there now, I’m looking forward to this one big time”.
Spike has been performing extremely well in training in the run-up for this fight and his form is ominous for Billy Joe Saunders. He has been hurting his sparring partners in preparation for the fight and even knocking some of them out. This form comes with Spike and his opponents wearing head guards and the bigger 18oz gloves, sending a stern warning to Billy Joe Saunders as on the night Spike will be wearing the 10oz gloves and will be punching much harder than he is at present.
I mentioned that Billy Joe has signed to take another fight already after he takes on Spike in September against John Ryder, and asked Spike did he think Saunders could be looking a little too far ahead “Maybe, maybe. He could be, hopefully he is. It would be a big mistake.”
Looking at Billy Joe Saunders himself I alluded to the fact that he probably represents a step up in quality of opposition and Spike agreed but was quick to point out that “I’m by far the best opponent he’s ever stepped in the ring with too”.
A very good point made by Spike as when you look at Billy Joe’s record, other than Matthew Hall and Nick Blackwell, there are no real big names as such. Spike who also fought Matthew Hall dealt with him in better fashion than Billy Joe did in my opinion.
Should Spike get past Saunders he was asked how he thought the win would propel his own name in the media and take him to a higher level: “Absolutely, I’d be 17-0 after beating Billy Joe Saunders. Who knows what would come next. I’d be willing to take any big fights out there.”
Of the domestic fighters out there (Andy Lee, Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker, Martin Murray etc.) , Spike said he has no favoured opponents out of the bunch: “I’d fight any one of them. There’s no one I’d favour over the other as such. I’d rather fight a world champion”.
WBO champion Peter Quillin was mentioned as a potential future showdown considering Spike’s no.4 ranking in the WBO, and Spike admitted he was very interested in facing ‘Kid Chocolate’, “I’d like to fight him.
“He’s a more realistic target for me given my ranking in the WBO. He’s from New York also, so I might get the chance to fight him at Madison Square Garden. Being Irish too there would be a lot of interest there, it would really be one that would sell.”
“He said on Twitter to me recently to make sure that I keep doing my training right. When I’m standing above him while he’s on the ground at Madison Square Garden I’ll tell him to keep doing his training right!”.
We discussed that although Quillin is certainly an impressive fighter, there was still no reason why Spike could not beat him considering the power of the Celtic Rebel’s punches.
Spike was asked how over the last two years or so, as his star began to rise and more people began to take notice of him within boxing, whether media exposure and obligations rose at the same speed.
“I got a lot of press coverage for the Matthew Hall fight. Since then really I have gotten a good enough amount of media attention I suppose. I suppose coming up to the (Billy Joe Saunders) fight there will be a bit more. There has been a few approaches to me to do documentaries and stuff so it’s been good.”
As the interview began to wind down, Spike was asked how he thought the fight with Billy Joe Saunders would play out, and the answer was a definitive one.
“I’m going to knock him out, that’s my prediction. Definitely. It’s going to be a knockout. I know I’m fighting a British Olympian in London, so he will have the home advantage. I believe if it goes to decision I don’t think I will get it. So I’m training to knock him out.”
Although Saunders will indeed have the home support on the night, it’s obvious that everyone back in Cork will be cheering for a Spike victory. It will certainly be a good fight on the night, given the fact the two exciting fighters are both unbeaten.
It should be an absolute cracker on the night, and this interviewer will be very much hoping Spike O’Sullivan gets the win to help him en route to potentially becoming Cork’s first ever professional world boxing champion!
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