O’Connell comeback begins with Friday fight

Cam O’Connell is hours away from stepping back into the ring and he couldn’t be more ready. On Friday night he officially makes his comeback against Mario Perez (17-6-4) as the headlining fight for KO Boxing Promotions’ Adrenaline Rush at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.

Cam O’Connell is hours away from stepping back into the ring and he couldn’t be more ready.

On Friday night he officially makes his comeback against Mario Perez (17-6-4) as the headlining fight for KO Boxing Promotions’ Adrenaline Rush at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.

“It’s the calm before the storm,” said the Red Deer boxer and 2007 Ringside world champion. “We’re just staying relaxed and taking it easy and tomorrow we’ll make weight and that’s my only concern right now.”

The fight is at 135 pounds and will mark O’Connell’s (6-0-1) first fight since March 1, 2014 when he knocked out Reece Chapman in the first round. Not long after that fight he was found guilty of a drug trafficking charge from 2009 and spent nine months in the Bowden Institute. He was released on April 1 and is focused on turning his life around and being a positive influence in the life of area youths.

He got his first look at his opponent, the five-foot-six Perez — originally from Mexico but now fighting out of Toronto — on Wednesday afternoon.

O’Connell’s, 26, first impression of his competition was a little underwhelming, but he knows looks can be deceiving.

“He doesn’t look like a tough guy but we’ll see on Friday,” said O’Connell. “I know he’s going to be tough and he’s going to survive. I thought he was going to be cocky and in my face and he wasn’t, I was taken aback a little bit by that.”

Perez has a the ability to take a fight the distance, going at least six rounds 13 times in his professional career, winning six of them and drawing twice. This fight is scheduled for eight rounds and if it goes the distance will be the longest of O’Connell’s career. O’Connell has a reputation for ending fights early with five of his six wins coming by way of TKO. His punching power and aggressiveness in the ring is a big reason why he has had trouble finding a suitable opponent.

“I hope he’s tough, I hope we go the distance, but if I get the opportunity to stop him, I will,” said O’Connell. “I’m sure it will go into the later rounds just with his experience and when you’re this experienced no one goes down easy.”

O’Connell is coming well prepared in his corner with coach Doug Bolianatz, trainer Roman Rzepkowski and cut man Arash Usmanee.

Usmanee, 33, is well versed in the professional boxing game, the Red Deer product has a 21-2-1 record as a super featherweight but has not fought since June 13, 2014. He did, however, help prepare O’Connell for this fight, sparring with him regularly.

“He knows how to get through these big fights and he knows me better than anybody else so he’ll know how to push me, know what to say to get me going,” said O’Connell

O’Connell will have one last ace up his sleeve, knowing he will have a decided hometown advantage with a lot of friends and family making the short drive up Highway 2 to Edmonton for the fight.

“Everyone is coming up, I’m pretty sure Red Deer is going to be loud and known in the event centre,” he said.

O’Connell’s preparation on Friday is going to be simple, he’s going to sleep all day, maybe watch a couple of movies like Les Miserable and Lord of the Rings.

But no Rocky.

“I don’t want to fight like that,” said O’Connell.

However, if he can have a Rocky-type fight, in terms of drama and excitement, it would accelerate his rise back up the boxing ranks.

• Venezuela’s Samuel Vargas (20-2-1, 10 KOs) and Mexico’s Cesar Chavez (25-8-0, 13 KOs) will be the semi-main event.

Just Posted

Ham radio operators in central Alberta tune in

Amateur radio enthusiasts in central Alberta tuned in for the weekend. Central… Continue reading

Winners crowned at 19th Woody’s Triathlon

The rain held off all weekend and made for great conditions for the more than 500 competitors

‘Clients fall off:’ Calgary program helps recently released prisoners with hep C

CALGARY — Imagine adjusting to life after serving prison time, then add… Continue reading

Five members of the same family now charged in relation to death of Kiran Dhesi

SURREY, B.C. — The RCMP made two arrests on Friday in connection… Continue reading

Rock climber suffers fatal fall on the Stawamus Chief overlooking Squamish, B.C.

SQUAMISH, B.C. — Police say a rock climber fell to his death… Continue reading

WATCH: Hundreds run in the 5K Foam Fest in Red Deer

The annual event took place at Heritage Ranch on Saturday

UK: Police visit incident dogs Johnson’s leadership campaign

LONDON — The leading contender to become Britain’s next prime minister is… Continue reading

Trump: ‘Surprise’ question about Pence led him to hesitate

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he hesitated when asked about endorsing… Continue reading

Indigenous drummers lead pipeline protesters on 22-kilometre march in Victoria

VICTORIA — The government approval of the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion won’t stop… Continue reading

Retired UBC professor Peter Winterburn killed in Chile, school confirms

VALPARAISO, Chile — A retired geochemistry professor from the University of British… Continue reading

Sask. Premier Scott Moe participates in Pride parade in Saskatoon

SASKATOON — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe participated in his first Pride parade… Continue reading

Parents of soldier killed in parachute exercise ask for thorough investigation

OTTAWA — The remains of the Canadian soldier killed in a parachute-training… Continue reading

Despite billions in new spending, Duclos still sees ‘affordability’ gaps

OTTAWA — Despite billions of dollars in new spending over the last… Continue reading

Most Read