When boxer Cam O’Connell straps on his gloves Saturday in Shawinigan, Que., his whole world will be watching.
The 29-year-old lightweight from Red Deer will have the most important set of eyes on him as he hits the ring against Mathieu Germain (12-0) almost 4,000 kilometres from home.
His daughter, Jayla, 2, will be watching the fight on TV, as it will be aired on TVA (French Language TV).
“I’m really excited, this is the first time my daughter is not with me at a fight, so I’m excited to say hi to her and hopefully she’s watching,” he said.
O’Connell, with a career record of 16-1-1 has a huge support network back home, including the kids from the Team Camo Kids program where he mentors and trains the future boxers.
“I’m excited to be a positive role model in their lives and have them watch me (fight),” he said.
The Dopamine Boxing Group is another place where O’Connell is trying to make a difference. He’s worked with them recently, helping elderly individuals with Parkinson’s Disease who box to help reduce the symptoms of the disease.
“I went and saw them, they’re all behind me and I’m excited to fight in front of them because I know they’ll all be watching too,” he said.
It’s also a big test career-wise for the man they call “Irish” because if he wins, it might be mean a chance to fight for the Commonwealth title in England.
“This is the Commonwealth interim that we’re fighting for, so the winner of this fight apparently goes will fight for the Commonwealth title in England in a few months,” he said.
The local boxer added that while he doesn’t know much about his opponent on Saturday, but said there’s no way he’s flying halfway across the country to return home with a loss. O’Connell has won 10 of his 16 fights with a knockout in his career.
“He’s a tough competitor. I think the crowd is going to be behind him. It’ll make him be aggressive I think. He knows what we’re working with and he’s prepared,” O’Connell said.
“I have one plan, to win and I’m not coming home without that.”