One of the biggest characters in Irish stand-up fighting James O'Connell, who is also the current ISKA featherweight Irish champion, heads to Scotland on June 25th to face Tam McCourt for the WBC International Title.
We sat down with O'Connell recently to talk about the fight, his opponent and what the title means to him.
"So I am facing Tam McCourt, aka Super-Tam, for the WBC International Title, this is my biggest fight and opertunity to date. Recently I was ranked 17th in the WBC world Muay Thai featherweight rankings, Tam was also ranked at 18th so this makes the fight a bit more interesting.
"I know Tam a long time now as I have been fighting over on the Scottish shows for a good few years and this will be the first time we are fighting each other. He is the Scottish number 1 featherweight so of course you want to fight the best. What can I say about him....well hes the Scottish version of me so we're both nuts. He has his own style too he calls it, and I quote, "Muay Tam" instead of Muay Thai, haha.
"Prediction - well the fight is not one to be missed. Don't mind Batman vs. Superman or the Civil War, this is Super-Tam vs. The Joker, the massacre at the blitz, I promise you that!"
The WBC Title
"Everyone that has anything to do with fighting knows the green WBC belt, it's a treasure and every fighter's dream. Pretty sure I'll be the first Irish male fighter to hold a WBC title in the fight game, all going well on the June 25th. Make another little bit of Irish history, that is the plan."
"My last few fights in the ring now (not the cage) I defended my ISKA featherweight Irish title sucessfully in February. I won by stoppage over in Scotland just before Christmas and before that I won by stoppage again in Dublin.
"My last defeat in the ring was to Ja Wuttichai, Thai Stadium champion, 2 years ago. We went the distance and I pushed him to the end. I lost on points but learned a lot from it. He has since fought and beaten some big name so definitely a lot to take from it.
"As for my last loss in the cage I know everyone wants to know my thoughts on this. Caged Thai is completely different compared to normal Muay Thai and it's them 4oz gloves. I saw the blood and got excited. My trainer always says you can't rush a finish but I tried and walked onto a bomb. I'll be honest I was standing up wanting to continue fighting but all I could see was tweety pie flying around my head, I'm glad the ref stopped it otherwise I would've been put to sleep. I've had 30 pro fights now and that was the first time the ref had to stop one my fights. Every figher has to go through it it is part of the game but my second promise today is I'll avenge that loss you can be sure of it and get my Caged Thai Irish title back. But first roll on June 25th and I will bring that green baby home with me to Tipp!!"