Darragh Foley on past weight issues, potential shoot-out with Czar Amonsot

IT is difficult to confine charismatic Irishman Darragh Foley to one label.

His exterior represents a figure of strength accompanied by an abundance of self confidence. However, underneath all that lies an articulate and well-spoken individual who of all things, always provides an entertaining transcript.

Our latest offering with the former Australian lightweight titleholder proved to be no different, with Foley discussing his difficulty making weight, his desire to face the consensus number one in his division Czar Amonsot, and more.

“It’s been a fine year I guess,” said Foley in an interview with Aus-Boxing. “Obviously I had the loss to Brandon Ogilvie in March, but by rights I probably should have had five fights this year. But I’ve had to pull out of two fights due to injuries. They were the sorts of injuries you can’t fight with so I was left with no other choice.”

“Last year I had six fights in the space of twelve months – and this year I’ll only have three – it’s probably due to moving up to ten round contests. You can’t have six ten round contests in a twelve month period. It just doesn’t work; your body can’t do it. In saying that, next year I look forward being a lot more active and aim to have at least four championship fights.”

On Friday night, Foley (now 9-2, 7 KOs) will make the first defence of his recently acquired WBA Oceania light welterweight title against well-travelled Argentine Sergio Eduardo Gonzalez, topping the undercard of a stacked Whack Promotions bill at Sydney’s Luna Park, headlined by the highly anticipated clash between long feuding rivals George Kambosos Jr. and Brandon Ogilvie.

The 28-year-old is hoping to end his year on a high, before carrying that momentum into bigger fights in 2017. As previously mentioned, the Sydney-based Irishman has the world rated and long avoided Czar Amonsot in his sights. Foley admits that Amonsot is a fighter that he has long admired – being a fellow southpaw – but he’s eager to test himself against the divisions best.

“I hope to gain a ranking with the WBA after winning this fight,” he explained. “I then hope to pick off fighters ahead of me in the rankings.”

“Obviously, Amonsot is my mandatory for my title as he is the interim WBA Oceania champion. I have a lot of respect for Czar and I think he is good solid fighter. I’ve been watching him and admiring his work now for years now.”

“But I see some holes in his game that I think I’ll be able to exploit. I really look forward to that southpaw shoot-out happening sometime next year. I think the fight with Czar can be made next year, he is highly ranked at number seven and he is my mandatory too. I’ve never run from a fight in my life.”

“I’m just looking for guys that are above me now, I’ve already been Australian champion. That is still to this day my greatest achievement thus far in my career. But I don’t want to be remembered as the Australian champion though, ultimately it will be as a world champion.”

Foley’s biggest run of success came in 2015, where he impressively stopped formerly world rated Valentine Borg and the previously unbeaten Miles Zalewski over the course of just two months.

But as he concedes, the rich vein of form took a strenuous toll on his body due to the difficulty he had making weight.

“When I was fighting at lightweight I was one fight away from cleaning out the whole lightweight division in nearly six months,” added Foley. “Can you name another fighter that has done what I nearly achieved in that time? I ultimately just went to the well one too many times and the weight just disabled me.”

“I’m not a lightweight, I don’t want people patting me on the back, I don’t want people liking me. But, you must respect that at the end of the day I went down to that division. I started out as a light welterweight, I’m a big light welterweight too, but I still need to cut weight to make it especially after the six months of strength and conditioning I’ve been doing building into this weight.”

“But there really wasn’t anyone to fight in the light welterweight division at the time. So I made the sacrifice and went down to a hot division, which the lightweight division was hot at the time. I knew I wouldn’t be there at that weight for a long time. But I was on a mission and it just caught up with me in the end and felt as though it just disabled me.”

“The weight cut was torture, I couldn’t put the weight back on in time.” he admitted. “I don’t want to take anything away from Brandon. Anybody that has seen me fight and then saw me in the ring that night. It doesn’t take much to know something was wrong.”

Foley has long been touted as a potential opponent to world rated lightweight George Kambosos, who faces a mutual opponent with Foley in the form of Brandon Ogilvie. Although it appears unlikely that they will cross paths, Foley says he will make the necessary sacrifices to get down in weight if an eventual fight could be made.

“I’ve brought up the question before to fight Kambosos,” he said. “Obviously he went to ground as he always does when my name is mentioned, but it would be hard. It’s even a struggle for me to meet at light welterweight. I would have to meet Kambosos at 63 kilograms for me to come down a little. Even at fifty percent, I’ll stop him.”

“Brandon Ogilvie I wouldn’t go back down for, I wouldn’t disrespect Brandon. Unless I was on my game. I made that mistake last time and look what unfolded.”

Given his association to both Kambosos and Ogilvie, Foley would understandably have a strong opinion on the fight. As it turns out, Foley was able to take his personal opinion aside when breaking down the stylistic matchup.

“I think Ogilive wins and I’m not just saying that because he beat me, Kambosos hasn’t fought anyone.” he concluded. “He is putting all this stuff up on social media that he has beaten all these world ranked fighters. I think he is a bit delusional. But he may show up and put on a beating on Ogilvie for ten rounds, or maybe reality might smack him in the face.”

“I think that’s what’s going to happen.”

Photo: Peter McDermott Photography