Hellraiser Boxing News | The Hellraiser Weekender: Spike O'Sullivan- Title Contender?
After his brilliant win last weekend over Antoine Douglas, George Storr examines the credentials of the exciting and popular Spike O'Sullivan emerging as a contender once again.
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by George Storr
Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan made an impressive statement as the lead support to Billy Joe Saunders’ world title defence on Saturday. The Irishman defeated the athletic, crisp punching, American, Antoine Douglas in the seventh round of their bout.
His reward, the vacant WBO Intercontinental Middleweight Title, could open some lucrative doors for the Cork man and he hopes it will lead to a world title shot against Saunders. Despite losing to the Englishman in 2013 Spike believes he could present the WBO middleweight champion with some real difficulties.
It was the nature of O’Sullivan’s win that offered the greatest support to his ambition. While Douglas looked by far the better in the opening exchanges, O’Sullivan weathered the storm and displayed immense resilience, composure and professionalism to come out the other side and wear down his opposite number.
Antoine Douglas came out looking every inch the fresh promising young man taking on the older fighter. He was stylish and loaded up on accurate, crisp shots. Spike’s experience was pivotal in countering this though. Effectively covering up and blocking he walked down his man, replying with cuffing hooks.
Eventually through attrition those cuffing shots became hammer blows and a patient performance culminated in a brutal finish. Douglas’s early exertions caught up with him and he found himself with his back to the ropes as O’Sullivan landed shot after shot. The referee called time, if anything a couple of punches later than he should have, as Douglas crumpled and took still more punishment as he fell.
In defeating Douglas, O’Sullivan fans would have been worried after three rounds. However their man never looked fazed on his stool and credit also has to be given to trainer and corner man Paschal Collins, who helped instil a steely confidence in his fighter as well as the patience that ultimately won the day.
O’Sullivan’s record is marred only by two losses and they came to notable opposition in the form of Saunders himself in 2013 and Chris Eubank Jr in 2015. Those losses will have critics doubting whether Spike has found his level, however, it was O’Sullivan’s experience and composure that really stood out in his Saturday performance.
The Irishman seemingly aims to take opponents into wars of attrition and come out best through patience, resilience and sheer determination. This begs the question… might that experienced and mature fighting style not be one that the 33 year old Spike wears better than his younger self did? Spike may have his best shot in this division as its elder statesman.
It’s hard to see O’Sullivan dealing easily with Billy Joe’s superior footwork and the Irishman would no doubt be a rank outsider, but he has thrown his hat in the ring by picking up the intercontinental belt and seems determined to mount a challenge for the world title. Spike’s less stylish than the men he’s targeting, but his performance on Saturday night showed real steel and that’s hard to overlook.
He claims to have coped well with Saunders in sparring and has also sparred the likes of Martin Murray, a former Gennady Golovkin opponent. Gary O’Sullivan might be a dark horse in the middleweight division, but having mixed it with some of the best and shown an amazing resilient confidence at a high level, Spike will give you a nervous night if you back against him.
Whether he gets his shot or not, O’Sullivan is a hugely entertaining fighter and one to watch as he rounds of his career. Hopefully his attempts to secure his financial and sporting legacy will give fight fans some nights to remember.
Posted: 23rd Dec 2017
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