By: Stephen James
Boxing comebacks are getting far more frequent these days, every other day we hear of another fighter from the past talking about getting back into the ring. But after 19 years and at the age of 42 forgotten Irish Featherweight Oliver O’Dea will again step through the ropes when he fights in the US in January for the first time on those shores since 1999. Now returning at light welterweight, the big punching Irishman is determined to finish thee job he set himself all those years ago regardless of age. We spoke to him about his incredible decision.
Boxing Insider (BI): Why at 42 decide to get back between the ropes again?
Oliver O’Dea (OD): Why not, life’s too short not to take chances, theses loads of reasons, mainly to show my kids anything is possible if you believe in yourself. One of the main reasons is my youngest daughter, she’s autistic and 3 years old, I want to do this for Ondine, Kira, Tristan and Jessica, all my kids. BI: you stopped boxing in 1999 and moved back to Ireland after a number of years in gyms in the UK and the US, why stop early? OD: broken hands, enough of the business of boxing and my main backer and best buddy Gladiator actor Oliver Reed died right at that time. It was just time to walk.
BI: You’ve worked with some big names in boxing, how did that come about?
OD: it was odd looking back at it, I sent a letter to a promoter in the UK and told him I would beat any fighter on his books, the postman came a week or so later and had a British stamp. Your welcome here to try if you like, it was the head of the then KO Pro team based in Bristol who had Alfred the Cobra Kotey the then WBO bantamweight champion, Kevin “The Look” Lewisham who nixed Felix Trinadad for the Welterweight Title and a few more, so I set off to Bristol on a bus from Cork at 18 and learned my trade, a few months later we were based in London and Sky’s Spencer Oliver was just about to turn pro but I never sparred him, great sparring with Tony Pep the super featherweight world champion at 6’2 and Kotey too. Moved to Steve Collins and then to the US.
BI: You had 7 wins from 7, what do you want to achieve now?
OD: Who cares about numbers, I want to really test myself in there cause its where I belong. Its not for money, I’m not calling out McGregor to get noticed or rich, I’ve shared the same gym with him on a few occasions and nothing special with his hands, he just has the advantage 98% of MMA fighters can’t punch properly. It freaked him out I wouldn’t kiss his arse and just said how’s it going as he did with respect after seeing me train.
BI: Where are you based now?
OD: West Cork, I’ve a gym here and a coach but we will be fighting in the US and hopefully Germany and Canada. I’m rated in the Canadian professional boxing council international ranking at 140 so its an option.
BI: You have been linked to a few trainers like the Mayweathers?
OD: Yea Jeff; Floyd’s uncle, I’ve also been talking to Wayne McCulloch but I’ll see, I’ve a good friend here Andy Kerrins who’s a good coach we will start working together ASAP and spend a good 8 weeks with him.
BI: Best of luck on the comeback.
OD: I would like to thank TITLE Boxing for there backing.