ARTICULATE, charismatic and controversial would all be fitting words to describe the unique nature of Darragh Foley’s personality.
The confident and brash Irishman has an impressive track record for producing excitement more often than not when he laces up his gloves. However, this also transfers through to his ability to create headlines outside of the ring, as Foley is never short of a word when asked a question.
Our latest installment with the aptly titled ‘Super’ proved to be no different, as Foley tackled a number of pressing issues ahead of his second WBA Oceania light welterweight title defence this weekend.
“I feel as though I lost a little bit of momentum in 2016,” said Foley to Aus-Boxing. “It was a hard year at the beginning after losing to Brandon Ogilvie, but it was a lesson learned. It was my last fight at lightweight, a weight I really shouldn’t have been fighting at and I killed myself to make.”
“For me, I gave the fans what they wanted. These domestic showdowns and lightweight was a hot division at the time – I said I’d make that sacrifice – I’ll get down to the weight. After that, I moved back up and avenged my earlier defeat against Joebert Delos Reyes and have since built my body back up to a big strong light welterweight.”
“I obviously had my last fight on the big show at Luna Park (against Sergio Eduardo Gonzalez) just before Christmas, but it was kind of a frustrating performance,” he explained. “I would’ve liked to have gotten the guy out of there but he just came to survive. It wasn’t my night, I still got the job done and still won comfortably and probably won every round.”
“But it’s not the kind of performance I wanted to finish the year on. But that’s all in the past now and this year is going to be a big year for me. I plan for a big performance come Saturday night and I want to go in there and put my best foot forward,”
Foley (10-2, 7 KOs) burst onto the scene in 2015, scoring three back-to-back knockouts over Michael Mlacic, the formerly world rated Valentine Borg and a conclusive first round knockout of the previously unbeaten Miles Zalewski to capture national title honours.
Despite having his impressive run of form broken by a defeat to Indigenous firebrand Brandon Ogilvie last March, the 28-year-old is adamant that he is still the fighter that tore up the lightweight division just two years earlier.
Having spent a month abroad to prepare for his title defence against Sonny Katiandagho in Miami under the guidance of regarded Cuban tactician Pedro Diaz, Foley feels as if he is rejuvenated after sharing company with some elite level operators, including defensive mastermind Guillermo Rigondeaux.
“I feel refreshed now. I’m still that same guy that was blazing two years back knocking everyone over and having everyone talking about me being the next big thing, I’m still that same guy,” he declared. “I am looking forward to getting back in and putting on a sensational performance.”
“I’ve just been over in Miami for a month training with Pedro Diaz. It was good to be in that environment training around current world champions and pound-for-pound listed fighters. They are no better than me and I feel I belong with them.”
“I didn’t feel out of place. It just reaffirmed it to me about what I thought about myself and the way I saw myself. I just have to want it now.”
“This year is going to be a big year for me,” he continued. “I’m now ranked number fifteen in the world with the WBA – I want to build on that – I really want to make a run for it this year and I have my eyes on the prize. I’ve been a professional for four years now nearly. I’m in my prime and couldn’t be stronger physically.”
There are elements of Foley’s game that admittedly lack polish. But to his credit, Foley has never backed away from a fight and sees it as his duty to chase the biggest fights possible. In an age where records are often protected, the Irishman should be admired for his willingness to take on all comers.
“I feel like I’m ready now, I’m ready. I just need good fights I think and some good performances,” he concluded. “Once I get this fight out of the way, I want to be shooting up that list, I want the big fights, and I’m ready now.”
“I’ve never been one to shy away from a fight and I never will as long as I’m a professional boxer. That’s my duty; take on all comers. Now I’m looking up that list – that’s where I’m looking – It’s a double-edged sword. I’m not one to I’m not one to play it safe. That goes against the grain of what a professional boxer should do.”
“I’ve got all my chips in; I’m fully invested in this and I’ve got to make this work. At the end of this year I want to be knocking on the door. I want to be in contention for a world title fight by the end of this year.”
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz
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