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

Maskwacis RCMP seeking suspect in fatal hit and run

A Maskwacis man was fatally injured after being hit early Saturday morning on Hwy 611

Red Deer to get new a plan to end homelessness as the problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

Many Red Deer-area farmers deal with a disastrous year

Dought in the spring, snow at harvest creates bad yields, sends hay prices soaring

Photos: Part of downtown Red Deer covered in trash over the weekend

Downtown businesses deal with trash, needle debris, graffiti

Delburne man’s reckless driving led to fatal crash: Crown prosecutor

Jury began deliberating in manslaughter trial on Monday afternoon

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Jeff Bridges to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Bridges may have once been considered as one… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

NEW YORK — Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Most Read