Boxing


Oisin Fagan – No ordinary school teacher

Oklahoma based elementary school teacher Oisin Fagan has returned to his native Dublin for his summer holidays. However this is one teacher who won’t be enjoying a typical summer break. Instead the Portmarnock man will climb into the ring at the Point in Dublin on Saturday week (June 23rd) as he clashes with Chill John on the next Hunky Dorys Fight Night..

Their eight round bout is on the undercard to the Bernard Dunne’s European title defence against Reidar Walstad and will see Fagan go in search of his 19th professional win.

It’s not bad going at all for a man who readily admits he is an accidental tourist where boxing is concerned. Fagan a talented all round athlete originally found himself in Oklahoma courtesy of a soccer scholarship.

While studying in the U.S. he completed a degree in Political journalism but a persistent knee injury put paid to a promising soccer career. Fagan turned to boxing to keep his fitness levels up and despite little or no amateur experience he quickly came to love the sport.

Things quickly snowballed and within months Fagan decided to have a few professional fights with his sole objectives being to earn enough money to pay his airfare back to Dublin.

Over four years later and Fagan’s remarkable career is still gaining momentum. Now the Oklahoma State lightweight champion and Irish light welterweight champion Fagan has achieved far more than he ever dreamed of. However he’s not satisfied yet, not by a long way – although he admits that fighting at the Point will be another ambition fulfilled.

“It will be a great thrill for me,” enthused the 33-year-old. “I used to go to The Point to watch all my favourite bands perform when they came to town and now I'll be fighting in the same arena so that's very exciting. Furthermore, anytime I can fight in front of all my family and friends, is always a huge bonus.”

Fagan meets Chill John at the Point and the Brighton based fighter is no stranger to Ireland having already clashed with undefeated prospects Stephen Haughian and Chill John. Indeed John gave the highly touted McCloskey a real scare earlier this year dropping the Derryman for the first time in his career before he got up to win on points.
Fagan however is confident that John will not prove a banana skin for him. “I’ve received some tape on him and found he's a slick boxer with good movement and speed. He definitely comes to fight but unfortunately for him, that's the way I like it and therefore, it will be down to the guy with the greater will and I absolutely refuse to get beaten in that department.

“You can say all you like about my lack of amateur experience and try to make an argument that my skills must be 'sub-standard' because of that fact. In fact I almost believed it myself until recently, however I now feel I've caught up with all the lads that have had a lifetime of boxing experience because I work harder in the gym than any fighter I know.

I used to think that having such a short amateur career was a disadvantage. This served true initially, as I lost 3 out of my first 10 fights but now since I've been learning on the job, per-se, my skills have been getting better and better with every fight. I also haven't taken the damage that other fighters my age have sustained with their extensive amateur backgrounds.

Take my last 3 opponents for example. They had an accumulation of 225 fights between them. I knocked out one of them in the first round, another in the second and the other, an unbeaten, former world champion was held to his first ever split decision.”

That undefeated former world champion was Paul Spadafora and he won’t be forgetting Fagan in a hurry. Spadafora who held the IBF lightweight title for four years clashed with Fagan in March only just emerging victorious on a controversial split decision.

It was a fight that many expected would painfully reveal Fagan’s limitations at world level, instead it has actually increased expectations regarding his potential.

“Fighting Spadafora was a great experience. It did a lot for my confidence. He’s an unbeaten, former world champion, so coming so close on the scorecards to beating him, helped me a lot. I have always been a humble fighter and that will never change, however I used to have a chip on my shoulder regarding my lack of amateur experience, but that was quashed just as soon as most of the fans from his hometown started chanting my name after our fight. They knew I gave him more than he could handle and I appreciated their acknowledgement. It did wonders for my self-belief.

That extra self belief has convinced Fagan that anything is possible now, even a world title. “On the strength of the Spadafora performance, I was asked by Zab Judah's people to help him prepare for last weekend’s world title fight with Miguel Cotto, but unfortunately, we couldn't agree terms and that fell through. However, that proves that my stock has now risen in this game. I'm getting a lot more notice and have had various appealing offers.

“I have to be very careful not to ruin what I have worked so hard for up to this point though. I think that within a year, my manager in the U.S. Stacy Goodson will have secured either a world title fight or a big-money fight. Until then, I'm enjoying this great adventure and I'm enjoying my boxing more than ever now.

Fagan has promised to put on a show on the 23rd worthy of some of the great entertainers who have appeared at the Point over the years. “I feel like I'm in good enough form to excite the crowd at The Point on the 23rd. And whatever critics say about my lack of amateur pedigree, they know that by the nights end, I'll have given it my all in that ring, which I feel is the key to being the people's champ. And that's my main goal as a professional - to have fans on the edge of their seats, always.”

Fagan finished with a word of warning for his opponent. “I know I'll show my age when I say this, but the last time I was at The Point, was to see MC Hammer! That was over 15 years ago now. On that note though, that reminds me of a couple of words I have for my opponent- "You Can't Touch This... Chill John!"

Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the Point on Saturday, June 23rd priced from €60 are available from Ticketmaster.ie and Ticketmaster outlets.

Article posted on 12.06.2007



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