GARY ‘SPIKE’ O’SULLIVAN is expected to return to the ring next month.
The Corkman looks set to be added to the undercard of the WBO middleweight world title bout between champion Andy Lee and challenger Billy Joe Saunders, which will take place at Thomond Park on Saturday, 19 September.
“It’s looking like I’ll be on the undercard,” said O’Sullivan, whose management are in the process of finalising a bout against an unnamed opponent in which the 31-year-old will be aiming for his sixth consecutive victory.
O’Sullivan started his career with a run of 16 straight wins before losing to Saunders on points at Wembley Arena in July 2013. However, ‘Spike’ is unbeaten since that sole career defeat. Most recently, he stopped Melvin Betancourt by second-round KO on the James DeGale versus Andre Dirrell undercard in Boston back in May.
O’Sullivan plans to take his professional record to 22-1 in Limerick next month, before watching the action unfold as fellow Irishman Andy Lee aims for a successful inaugural title defence against the only man to defeat O’Sullivan so far. Regardless of the outcome, O’Sullivan says he’ll be putting forward his case for a shot at the winner.
He told The42: “Defintely. I’m going to call him out anyway, whoever wins the fight. I like the two of them, they’re two sound out fellas. I wouldn’t be jumping into the ring and getting in their face or anything like that. Even though I wouldn’t be afraid to, I just wouldn’t do it to disrespect them.
“Whoever wins, it’s their night, not mine. But I will be making it clear after my own fight that I want to fight the winner.”
As for 19 September’s main event, O’Sullivan expects it to be “cagey”, as is often the case when two southpaws collide. But in spite of his loss to Saunders, O’Sullivan doesn’t believe the Englishman is capable of dethroning the champion inside the distance.
“I don’t think he has the power, no, to be honest,” O’Sullivan said. “Billy Joe might take the earlier rounds but the only way he’ll win the fight is on points. [Chris] Eubank Jr was the only one who really pushed Billy Joe and he got tired towards the end. If he tires like that against Lee, he’ll be punished.
“I’ve sparred with both of them and obviously fought Billy Joe as well. With them both being southpaws, I think it might be a bit cagey; similar to the Andre Dirrell versus James DeGale fight.
“In fights like that, they can take a while to feel each other out. Sometimes that doesn’t always make for a very good fight when you have two skilled southpaws trying to work each other out. It usually makes for a bad fight.
“Lee is after showing that he can land the punches. Billy Joe is a proud fella and he’s very tough, but I could see Andy Lee getting a knockout in the later rounds. Lee has proven that he’s got the one-punch knockout power to do that.”
And a Munster derby between Limerick and Cork at Thomond Park next?
O’Sullivan: “It would be the first time in history that two Irishmen have fought each other for a world title. It makes perfect sense.”