Frustrated O'Neill joins DBMA looking for make a fresh start

Boxer Richard O'Neill has made the transfer from Hartlepool to Darlington, writes Peter Mann.

Saturday, 16th September 2017, 11:15 am

The super-middleweight has left the Gus Robinson Developments Gym to switch to DBMA in Darlington.

Unbeaten O’Neill will come under the guidance of Peter Shepperson while signing a management contract with Tyneside fight figure Steve Wraith.

O’Neill, who had three fights under the Peter Cope-Alan Temple tutelage since turning professional in 2015, has felt stagnated of late and his last fight, a draw with Callum Ide earlier this year, not necessarily his finest performance.

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However, since taking advice from his partner, Sarahjane, and others close to the fighter, he made the decision to leave town for Darlington aiming for a fresh start, severing all ties in doing so.

“We parted on good terms but I needed to do what was right for me,” explained the Ferryhill fighter.

“I looked at a few different options around the region and this is a very good move for me.

“The one in Hartlepool was becoming difficult to navigate with my work patterns. Here, I’m just seven miles up the road, so it made sense and I’m enjoying my boxing again.”

Six months have passed since O’Neill last laced up the gloves and, although he remained undefeated, the draw with Ide was a tough one to take.

A points win on his debut, against Scott Hillman, was followed by a first stoppage success, against Rikke Askew.

“It wasn’t the best camp and I never felt right at all throughout,” said the 31-year-old.

“The last few weeks of camp was pretty bad and I feel, even now, I should have pulled off and it showed as I put in a bad performance.

“I watched it back a few times and we realised I needed to do something and it was my fiancée, Sarahjane, who pointed out what I needed to do.”

Now, with those changes in place, O’Neill is back in the gym, training daily alongside Chrissy Wood, Ellis Corrie, Chris Burton and former world champion, Stuart Hall, at the Northern Echo Arena-based gym.

A potential return has been pencilled in for Darlington in early December although O’Neill, is ready to go and is willing to hit the road to get back to where he believes he should be, challenging for titles.

“I’d like a couple of quick fights to see out this year and will go on the road to do so,” he added.

“Then, with I’m hoping a good five or six outings next year, I’d like to think I’d be out challenging for the Area title as well; but it’s fights that I want and will get.”