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Boxing the ideal sport for ambitious O'Hare

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Aaron O’Hare. Pic: Donal Hackett.

Aaron O’Hare. Pic: Donal Hackett.

Aaron O’Hare. Pic: Donal Hackett.

Once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, one local amateur boxer is hoping to compete in the Connacht championships and win a coveted Senior title.

Aaron O'Hare has certainly been hectic not only training during the coronavirus crisis, he has also been studying for his final year exams in IT Sligo, with his last exam tomorrow.

Aaron, 22, from Sligo said that he got into boxing at a somewhat later age to some of his fellow athletes in Ballinacarrow Boxing Club, under the stewardship of coach Stephen Reynolds.

When he was younger, it was the waves in Strandhill as opposed to the boxing ring he was spending his time as a surfer but he sort of fell out of flavour with it and switched sports.

Aaron told The Sligo Champion: "I grew up surfing years ago but then I took up boxing when I was in secondary school in Summerhill. I was a bit burnt out by surfing I suppose. I was in 2nd Year, I'm actually good friends with Aaron Gethins and he was in Summerhill too. My cousin Keelan O'Connor was also big into it, so I went training then when I was still in school in Ballinacarrow."

How is he finding training now amid the Covid-19 crisis? "Would you believe I am doing more training now than I would normally do!," he laughed.

"I don't have any of the set-up that Stephen has or pads, of course sparring is a big thing but I'm doing lots of road running to keep the fitness levels up and with the mountain (Knocknarea) beside me I have no excuse!".

The 22-year-old said that he loves the sparring aspect that boxing provides.

"I suppose I am full of energy and I want to expel that in sparring."

The welterweight said prior to the restrictions he had a fight in Ballymote and was in Castlerea for the Connachts but there was no one in his weight but he still got to do an exhibition sparring session.

Standing at 6'3" Aaron certainly has a long reach due to his height. "Yeah for my weight category I am tall and being that height means I have a big long reach which can be an advantage. I'm light and skinny, Stephen wants me up to 75kg so I have been trying to put on a few kgs but it's not that easy because it's in my blood to be skinny."

Aaron explained that having a long reach is an advantage but that some of the smaller opponents can be nippy too.

In terms of tough opponents, he said sessions with Aaron (Gethins) are tough and he added one of his toughest fights was a few months ago against a lad from Dundalk. "He had won a lot of fights and I lost that one."

He said there are tough sessions too with the fellow boxers in the club, such as Conor Hannigan and Conor Tighe.

"I'm really looking forward to going back training, the Connachts and Nationals are scheduled for October and November thus year, there won't be much sparring before then.

"Training for say the Connacht championships or the Nationals compared to pro training are 2 different things."

Aaron said he has previously won a Connacht Novice title back in 2015, which he described as his proudest moment to date but he has his heights now set on a Connacht Senior title. "That is if they can run the competitions off this year,"he added.

Like his fellow boxers, Aaron has huge praise for coach Stephen Reynolds, former Irish heavyweight Champion and pro boxer.

"Stephen is such a legend, some of his fights that you can watch on Youtube are incredible, he's won multiple titles and his brother Alan was brilliant too."

Aaron was also supporting friend Aaron Gethins at his last fight in Belfast when he defeated his Peru opponent.

In terms of any ambitions to turn pro himself, he said he is going to try and win a Connacht title.

"I probably wouldn't (turn pro). I will see what happens with the Connacht Senior title, that would be a huge honour for me."Aaron said that if more sponsors were to come on board in Sligo, the local talent that he believes are as good as anywhere else would have adequate places to box. "Funding is a big thing, if more sponsors came on board, it would be a big thing."

After completing his 3rd Year final exams in Mechanical Engineering, Aaron is hoping to do a Masters in DCU from September and no doubt the boxing gloves will be accompanying him too.

Sligo Champion