O’Connell scores home win with TKO

Cam O’Connell insisted he was in no hurry to end his scrap with Mexican lightweight Luis Arjona Friday night at the Sheraton Hotel Exhibition Hall. “In my last fight I ran in hard. This fight . . . I wanted to plant my feet early. I wanted to box,” said O’Connell, after defeating Arjona by technical knockout in the main event of the three-fight professional portion of the Tuff Glove card.

Cam O’Connell insisted he was in no hurry to end his scrap with Mexican lightweight Luis Arjona Friday night at the Sheraton Hotel Exhibition Hall.

“In my last fight I ran in hard. This fight . . . I wanted to plant my feet early. I wanted to box,” said O’Connell, after defeating Arjona by technical knockout in the main event of the three-fight professional portion of the Tuff Glove card.

The Red Deer boxer felt that he could take his time, that Arjona was unlikely to hurt him anytime soon.

“I knew as soon as he threw his first punch and it came over, that it was just a matter of time,” said O’Connell, who improved his pro record to 4-0-1 after dropping Arjona twice, the decisive uppercut coming with just a few seconds left in the third round.

“The straight ones always beat the round ones. He got me a couple of times while I was throwing round ones and I heard my coach (Doug Bolianatz) telling me to straighten them out.”

After a close opening round, O’Connell realized he had to set the pace and try to end the bout.

Bolianatz had a suggestion.

“He told me to stick the jab,” said O’Connell. “I knew the jab was working but sometimes I don’t believe in my jab as much as I should. I should have thrown it more. I was landing but I wanted a knockout and you can’t knock someone out with a jab. I knew it was making his head go back but I also knew I wasn’t going to knock him out with it.”

Naturally, O’Connell was the crowd favourite in his first pro fight at home.

“It was amazing. I could take the voices from the crowd and put a face to everyone,” he insisted. “Every time I landed a punch I’d hear a ‘yeah’ from one side and it was my wife. From another side, it was Arash Usmanee’s little brother (Sleeman). It was perfect.”

His performance wasn’t perfect, yet it was impressive considering he’s still learning the pro side of the fight game.

“I’m happy with it, but I’m negative with myself, that’s how I build myself to be better. There were punches I shouldn’t have thrown, like the overhand right. That was sloppy,” said O’Connell. “I shouldn’t have waited a round before throwing an uppercut.

“This was my fifth (pro) fight and I just keep working at it. This is the beginning of a good thing. Red Deer came out tonight and supported me 100 per cent. I hope next time it’s busier with a lot more people, but I love fighting for Red Deer. It’s a fighting city. I felt the support and I loved it.”

O’Connell is set to fight again in September in Edmonton.

“They (promoters) are saying that I’ll be fighting a European,” he said. “Hopefully that will be a good one and then I hear talk that I could get a Canadian title shot sometime soon.”

Eventually, O’Connell wants to emulate the level of former Red Deer Boxing Club teammate Arash Usmanee, who is set to fight Argeniz Mendez for a world lightweight championship in August.

“I want to follow in his steps and get to the top, although at a bit younger age,” said O’Connell, who at 24 is seven years younger than the Montreal-based Usmanee.

“But I want to continue to box out of Red Deer. As long as I get the support here I can go to training camps in the states or wherever I have to go.”

In the co-main event of the pro card, Tennessee fighter Kevin Council (4-0) defeated Ted Reno of Calgary (3-7-2) by unanimous decision in a four-round junior middleweight bout.

Earlier, Polish-born welterweight Lukasz Wierzbicki of Calgary dominated Vancouver’s Antonio Dos Santos (2-7) while making his pro debut in front of roughly 20 vocal supporters.

In the main event of the amateur portion of the card, Red Deer’ Brian Samuel lost a unanimous decision to provincial 65 kg elite open champion Devin Reti of Calgary.

In the first amateur bout of the evening, provincial 50 kg junior C champ Lester Cudillio of Red Deer gave up at least four inches in height to Wolfgang Pederson of Medicine Hat, but delivered some devastating punches and forced a third-round stoppage.

Provincial champion Cole Farwell of Red Deer then defeated Danny Vo of Edmonton by unanimous decision in a 65 kg youth bout, and Robbie Cusine of Edmonton followed with a split decision victory over Gwyn Lewis of Calgary in a 65 kg elite open bout.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mason Ward battles with a Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward during the WHL Central Division season opener. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers come back to spoil Red Deer Rebels home opener

It’s been nearly 345 days since the Red Deer Rebels last played… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) falls on his knees as he skates around Ottawa Senators defenceman Artem Zub (2) during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, February 18, 2021. The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto star Auston Matthews won’t play as Leafs face Oilers

EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Most Read