It may have started with watching “Friday Night Fights” with his grandfather as a kid, but eventually, Framingham’s Danny O’Connor would have wound up as a savvy boxer. The former alternate on the U.S. Boxing Olympic team in 2008, ushers in history to Gillette Stadium on Sunday night. Making the event even more special, local Major League Soccer team, the New England Revolution play host to the Montreal Impact. The two sport event, begins at 7:00PM, with the boxing card preceding the Revs/Impact match, in the first ever “Fight Night at the Revolution.”
It was only a year ago last month, which O’Connor suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Tito Bracero on Showtime that left the southpaw with health complications. The wounds would eventually heal, but not the fire and passion that O’Connor has for the sport of boxing.
” My life has drastically changed. A year ago I was getting a one way ticket to Texas with no money and nowhere to live, just to follow a dream. Now I’m at the doorsteps of being a part of boxing history in the first fight at Gillette Stadium. I think I am a good example that hard work, dedication and self belief get you a long way in this world.”
A year later and a full year under renowned trainer, Ronnie Shields’ direction made all the difference in the world for the twenty-seven-year-old magician. A year later, Danny received the support of the Dropkick Murphy’s, eventually leading to Ken Casey taking the reigns as his manager. 77 days ago, O’Connor delivered a Total Knockout victory over Daniel Sostre in front of a sold out House of Blues crowd in the backdrop of Fenway Park. Four days from now, O’Connor will be apart of history as he headlines the three-bout boxing card.
” Training with Ronnie has been great for me. The key to improving in anything you are doing is learning and working hard at it. I do both with Coach Ronnie. Every second I am around him I am learning as a fighter and as a person.“, O’Connor added about his mentor.
Since O’Connor’s TKO against Sostre, the fighter has been down in Houston, Texas in anticipation of his next bout. If there’s anyone more excited than Team O’Connor, it’s his loyal fans. O’Connor uses social media to connect with his rabid fan base and the upcoming event sent O’Connor’s twittersphere into a frenzy.
Sharon Lee Joseph of South Boston , is gushing about the event. “I’ve been a long time boxing fan, knew of Danny for a while & have been a supporter since October 2011, when he did an event at McGeevy’s Pub. “I look forward to seeing the Revs play, watching Danny’s fans get excited to cheer him on and seeing the fear in the eyes of his opponent.”
Patrick Gilrane of Dennisville, New Jersey will be traveling up to Foxborough in support of O’Connor, ” I found out about Danny via Ken Casey at the DKM concert in Atlantic City last winter, We’ve been twitter pals since. I am excited for Danny as well as all his fans . He’s a hard-working , humble guy and I look forward to being there to support him.”
Those who have had the great opportunity to work beside O’Connor in support of his favorite charity, The Claddagh Fund, such as North Andover’s Toni Wakester, couldn’t be more proud.
“An amazing moment that I will never forget was right after Danny had won the fight at the HOB. He took a few moments to have the photographers take photos and reporters to ask questions, but he then asked the reporters to wait a moment… I then observed Danny step out of the ring to hug, take pictures, and thank his fans! THAT is something that is very important to him and it shows.”
It’s very common for people to draw inspiration from celebrities or their favorite athletes. What makes O’Connor the Moby Dick of professional sports is that he draws a large part of his inspiration from his supporters.
“A great player Tommy Burns for Celtic FC once said ‘When you pull on that jersey you are not just playing for a futbol club, you are playing for the people and for a cause’. I feel the same way every time I lace up the gloves. My fans feed off me but I feed off of them. I wouldn’t be anywhere if it weren’t for the support of my Fan Family and I appreciate every single one of them for what they do for me. I’m just graciously honored to be in a position to motivate them as much as they motivate me.”
Before the O’Connor fight, New Englanders will also get the chance to watch Boston Police officer Billy Taft, fight John Downey, a mixed martial artist from Hull. However, all eyes will be on O’Connor and opposing foe, Edwin Soto in the third match on the fight card. Soto, who currently resides in Pawtucket, Rhode Island will look to build on an impressive 12-4 record, with 4 victories via the knockout. The expected large contingent of “Danny-O” supporters will be on hand, but the southpaw has been boxing too long to take a match for granted.
” I train as if every fight is a Title Match. I think sometimes if you look past what’s in front of you then there’s a chance it will trip you up. After all, this is boxing and anything is possible.”
To diehard fans of futbol or boxing, the event is of epic proportions, but if you’re a casual fan, come on down to Foxborough and I guarantee you walk away with a smile on your face.
Tickets are still available for the historic event taking place this Sunday, August 12th on Ticketmaster.com, by calling 1-877-Get-Revs or at the box office at Gillette Stadium.
*** To keep up to date with all the latest news leading up to the event, follow Danny on Twitter @DOC_Boxing and dannyoconnorboxing.com ***