A Red Deer boxer is getting ready for the biggest fight of his career.
Cam O’Connell will enter the ring on June 17 in Cornwall, Ontario to fight Tony “Lightning” Luis for the vacant NABA lightweight crown.
"100 per cent it's my biggest bout yet,” O’Connell admits. “The media outlets are saying it's Canada's biggest fight because two Canadians never fight each other. We go elsewhere for paycheques or get brought in to be opponents on bigger cards elsewhere in the world. It's never that the two top Canadians ever fight [each other].”
O’Connell, 28, comes into the title bout having never been beaten (15-0-1 10KOs) while Luis, 29, carries just three losses on his record (23-3 8KOs).
“I called him out in December and they called us back in April and started talking to us,” O’Connell says about how the fight came together. “We were supposed to fight Steve Wilcox for a title above my weight class and things happened and they chose another opponent, then this one popped up.”
The two fighters are quite familiar with each other, having fought as amateurs nearly a decade ago.
O’Connell says, "We both have so much tape out there, it's easy to find tape on both of us, so we both know what we're getting into. There are really no secrets in this fight.”
O’Connell has been training with his coaching staff of Doug Bolianatz, Roman Rzepkowski, Robert Carswell. He’s been heading to Lodgepole twice a week and sparring in Calgary and Edmonton.
Especially given his opponent’s nickname is “Lightning,” O’Connell expects their June 17 title fight to be fast-paced.
“I've seen what he does -- he gets in there and goes really fast. He's a pressure fighter, and I'm kind of a pressure fighter too, but I don't fight with much speed and I hit with power. It's kind of two things colliding with each other, two different fighting styles. Hopefully he's not fast enough to get away from my power. That's what I'll have for him."
In his last bout in Edmonton in March, O’Connell stopped his opponent, Oscar Barajas with a body shot in the fifth round.
Taking on Luis in his hometown, O’Connell realizes, will be no easy task.
“I know I'm going to have no fans comparably in the audience. I don't really need the fan base at the fight, but knowing that the whole Red Deer community is standing behind me, and all of Alberta, it means a lot.”
O'Connell's supporters will be gathering for a viewing party for the title fight at JJ's Restaurant and Lounge.