Pierce O’Leary Is Relishing His Home From Home

Pierce O’Leary believes he is primed for a career-best performance when he boxes the unbeaten Belgian Hovhannes Martirosyan on Queensberry Promotions’ ”Magnificent Seven” on Saturday.

After spending years training with Alan Smith at the iBox Gym in Kent, the super lightweight decided that he needed a change. 

O’Leary has a young family in Ireland and leaving them behind to spend weeks and months alone became tougher and tougher. After growing increasingly unhappy with his personal circumstances, he decided to move north to Liverpool to train with Joe McNally. On a clear day you can almost see Ireland from Liverpool and, with his family much closer, O’Leary is happy, settled and thriving in his new surroundings. 

O’Leary has been taken aback by just how much he has enjoyed training in Liverpool. The 25 year old hasn’t done too badly so far. He is unbeaten in 13 fights and his seven stoppages have started to make him a real attraction. O’Leary is thrilled by the realisation that he has made it this far and still has such room for improvement.

“I had a little sense to take things into my own hands and do what was best for me and my family,” he said in an interview with 32Red. “When boxing’s gone, that’s all you’ve got really. I thought that was the best thing to do. My gut was telling me that for a long time. Looking back it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m surrounded by like-minded people and great coaches; hungry fighters; former world champions. There’s nothing more I could ask for.

“I believe with the new team, this is gonna be my year. There are gonna be a lot of big fights for me. I’m kind of pretty much British and Irish level and once you prove that you’re ready to step up again and go forward again. I do think it’ll be a very exciting year. My team have every confidence in me and I have every confidence in them.”

A talented amateur who won 140 of his 150 fights and claimed nine national titles, at heart O’Leary is a thudding puncher who likes to impose himself on his opponent. There is a reason he was given his “Big Bang” nickname. McNally and his team won’t be attempting to turn O’Leary into a fleet-footed will-o’-the-wisp but they have begun to work on ways for him to disguise his power and use it at the correct times.

They’ve seen many things,” he continued. “They’ve been brushing up on my flaws. Tightening my defence and guard. My footwork is tremendous and also working on my engine. When to pick it up; when to take it down. When to pick the right opportunities for the right shots. That’s really it. The training is also a lot harder.

“Don’t show all my cards at once. I’ve got power but know when to use it. I’ve got 10 or 12 rounds to break them down.”

O’Leary may not have the option to take his time on Saturday. Martirosyan is an aggressive, all-action fighter and doesn’t seem the type to change tack on the biggest night of his life. O’Leary might well be capable of drawing the Belgian’s sting and wearing him down as the rounds pass but his natural instincts will be to fight fire with fire and capitalise on any mistakes Martirosyan makes. 

“He’s 15-0 with ten knockouts,” he said. “He hasn’t been in with somebody of my level and that’s the truth. He’s got so many flaws that we’ve been working on and as soon as he commits, that’s his downfall. 

“He could be blowing after three or four rounds if it goes that far.”

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