One thing Red Deer boxer Cam O’Connell won’t carry into the ring this Friday at the Tuff Glove pro-am event is ring rust.
His last fight was May 31st so in less than a month he’ll be back trading punches with another opponent but he’s not too concerned about the short turn around time.
“It usually doesn’t happen that way but I stopped my opponent very quick and I didn’t even get a workout,” said O’Connell, on his way to a training session to get ready for Friday.
The 24-year-old turned pro in May 2011, fighting as a lightweight and takes his 3-0-1 record into the ring against Luis Arjona of Mexico who sports a 3-1-1 record as a pro.
That’s about all O’Connell said he knows about him, but it’s a situation he’s very familiar with as an amateur ringing up 136 fights
“When you’re an amateur all you know is the tournament date, you don’t know who is actually going to show up at the tournament,” he said. “So I guess I’m using that to my advantage right now because I’m pretty used to fighting people I don’t know.”
In spite of a boatload of experience in the amateur ranks, O’Connell said he has to start at the bottom of the pro game which means building up his reputation by winning fights against opponents he should beat if all goes right.
“I was Canadian champion, I was going to world championships, fighting the best in the world as an amateur and now I’m fighting guys with not as much experience as I have.”
In fact, in his last fight he took on an opponent who had 10 fights in the MMA world but nothing as a boxer after another fighter with a 10-0 record backed out at the last minute, he said.
He added he feels comfortable in any ring he enters but admits it will be nice to have the hometown crowd backing him and not cheering for his opponent.
“At least I hope not,” he laughed.
He said he wants to perform for those friendly faces in the crowd so they can see firsthand what kind of boxer he has grown into over the years.
Even though he is a professional boxer by trade, O’Connell does have a full-time job selling cars for Go Auto in Red Deer and he was quick to point out how much the owners have supported him by allowing him to train and travel as much as he needs in order to advance his career in the ring.
Training for a fight is also a full-time effort but O’Connell has the benefit leading into this fight to be sparring with one of the best in the world, former Red Deer Boxing Club member Arash Usmanee
He knew Usmanee years before he started to box, crediting him for getting him started and has worked with him extensively to hone his skills.
“Everything he has ever learned he keeps teaching to me,” he said.
O’Connell has a fight scheduled in September against an opponent from Europe which will be held in Edmonton but he has also heard rumblings about a possible WBC World Youth title bout and a possible shot at the Canadian belt as well.
The focus though is to get more fights and improve the quality of opponents which in turn will increase his stature in the business, he said.
The Tuff Glove event runs June 28th at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer with three pro fights on the card along with five amateur bouts scheduled.