With his successful pro debut now behind him, 2008 U.S. Olympic first alternate Danny O’Connor is hoping to stay busy as well as further adjust to fighting longer rounds with smaller gloves and no headgear.
In front of a large crowd of his enthusiastic fans and escorted into the ring by a Irish bagpipe player, O’Connor turned in an impressive performance against on September 17 in Manchester (NH), using a devastating body attack en route to stopping Jose Guerrido at 1:55 of the second round, when Guerrido’s trainer – former two-time world champion Aaron Davis – threw in the towel.
“It turned out to be like me and my coaches envisioned it,” O’Connor reflected. “All of the hard training paid off. I felt good in the ring. I was a little too anxious going for the early knockout and didn’t show all of the ability I have. I’m a big body puncher. I love banging the body because it slows down the opponent and leaves open holes for my shots. That’s what happened.
“I did feel a lot of pressure fighting in front of so many of my fans and family, as well as Leon (Margules, Seminole Warriors Boxing executive director) coming up from Florida to watch me fight for the first time. But I’ve always fought well under pressure and I settled right down. It’s going to take a little while to get used to fighting with smaller gloves, but I liked fighting without head gear, and didn’t really get into the longer rounds. Punching felt different with 8-ounce gloves, but it’s something I’ll quickly adapt to. I did feel naked fighting without a shirt. I like fighting as a professional better than as an amateur.”
The 23-year-old O’Connor, fighting out of Framingham (MA), won this year’s US Future Stars National Championship, in which he was named Most Outstanding Boxer, as well as the National Golden Gloves Tournament, both in the 141-pound light welterweight division. Danny’s most notable victory as an amateur was a dominating victory, 23-3, against eventual 2008 Olympic Gold medalist Felix Diaz, of the Dominican Republic, on May 29 in a USA-Dominican Republic dual meet in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“I really couldn’t have asked for a better result,” O’Connor’s co-manager (with Rob Valle) and head trainer David Keefe remarked. “He wasn’t hurt at all and threw some great body shots, which will serve him well as he moved up. I’m also very happy with the promotional pick we made with Leon and Seminole Warriors Boxing.”
Among the celebrities watching O’Connor’s pro debut were legendary boxers Roberto Duran and Tommy Hearns, who won the same National Golden Gloves light welterweight title in 1977 as Danny did this year, Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee, and members of he pop group “Boys Like Girls.” Keefe’s brother John for the is a drummer for gold-record selling “Boys Like Girls” and the band has supported Danny.
For more information about Danny O’Connor go to www.dannyoconnorboxing.com.