FOR the first time in thirteen years, Shannon O’Connell is happy with the progression of her career.
The reigning WBC Silver super bantamweight titleholder will make the first defence of her title on Saturday night at the Melbourne Park Function Centre as she continues on her path to WBC world titleholder Alicia Ashley.
Standing in her way is durable Japanese import Kimika Miyoshi, who O’Connell plans to do a number on.
“If I get through this fight I am the mandatory to WBC champion Alisha Ashley,” said O’Connell in an interview with Aus-Boxing. “She has to have her mandatory by October 31. I just need to win this fight to see what happens next.”
“I’ve only seen footage of Miyoshi fighting just once, it was from three years ago,”
“I know that I have changed a lot in the last three years. So I’m not really trying to go by much from that fight,”
“But from what I’ve seen, she is going to be in front of me the entire time.”
For the first time in quite some time, O’Connell (12-4-1, 7 KOs) knows the path that she is treading will lead to an eventual title fight. She has a schedule, she has a plan and on Saturday night she just needs to execute.
When speaking to the 33-year-old, the sense of urgency in her voice is almost unmistakable. The Logan-based O’Connell knows that she is in for a fight – and when it comes down to it – she is willing to go out on her sword.
“I’m at a stage where I know that if I lose, it’s not going to be an easy win for her,” she explained.
“If I win – it’s probably not going to be an easy win for me either – because that’s just how I make it,”
“I just know I give it everything every time I step through those ropes and fight. It’s just how I do it.”
O’Connell credits her positive state of mind to the relationship she has developed with her promoter and manager, Lynden Hosking. Although all fighters are close with their team, O’Connell believes their bond goes beyond that.
“Lynden has given me every opportunity I could ever dream of in the sport,” she continued. “He has taken me overseas – and even got me the fight that I had over in Canada – which I never thought was even possible,”
“I never thought I would ever be at the MGM Grand watching Floyd Mayweather or even train at Gleason’s gym,”
“I was at a point where I would have literally fought anyone, I was getting that desperate for a fight. I was training everyday twice a day for eleven straight months without a fight. Now, I’m not desperate for fights.”
“I have now got somebody behind me that I know he has my back. Lynden helped me open my own gym, which is something I’ve dreamt about since starting boxing. Lynden is just like a saint; he is my father reincarnated.”
O’Connell is hoping that her new-found motivation will lead to a WBC world title. Having been unsuccessful in her first attempt to capture title honours against Diana Prazak, O’Connell now knows what it takes.
“I’ve learnt a lot in the last few years, go back to my fight with Diana Prazak,” she concluded. “Obviously I wasn’t strong enough for her, but I don’t regret taking that fight. I learnt a lot from sharing a ring with her.”
“I do think I’ve got what it takes to be a world champion in and out of the ring,”
“I’m trying to do inspire people to do the right thing, and I will after boxing. I’ve had a rough life and a bad up-bringing. I’ve seen everything. If I can change one person’s life than everything I’ve been through was worth it.”
“It’s just not in me to give up until I reach my goal. I’m not ready to give up on it yet,”
“The time will come and I know that when it comes, that I had given it everything I could to get to where I end up in the sport. I’m not saying I’m the best fighter in the world but I’m saying right now that I want to be,”
“If that doesn’t happen, I want to know that I gave it everything I could to try to get there.”
“I’m the happiest I’ve been in the sport in the past thirteen years of boxing and I think that is making me excel in my training. I’m fitter, I’m stronger and I’m more focused. I feel like I’m now boxing better than I ever have.”