Super lightweight contender Danny O’Connor will make his long-awaited return to the ring on September 21 at the Tenth Annual Fight to Educate event at the Verizon Center in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Though he will always be the fighting pride of Framingham, Massachusetts, O’Connor recently left his wife Diane and five-month-old baby boy Liam behind and relocated to Houston, Texas, to work with legendary trainer Ronnie Shields.
26-year-old O’Connor says he appreciates former trainer Dave Keefe’s work, but it was time to make a switch.
“I want this so bad I’m willing to move where I don’t know anyone, just so I can train with one of the best in the game. I am a fighter and I want to give my family the best life possible, so this is what I had to do.”
O’Connor says that while an undiagnosed health problem, anemia, didn’t help during his SHOWTIME-televised unanimous decision loss to fellow contender Gabriel Bracero last April 8, he admits he also needed some fine tuning in his technique.
That’s where Shields comes in, one of the game’s master craftsman with an arm-long list of past and current high-profile clients. “You can’t help but become a better fighter with Ronnie,” adds O’Connor. “Not only is his list of training accomplishments amazing, he was also an excellent fighter. He’s been all the places I want to go.”
Shields says he wasn’t sure if O’Connor had what it took when first approached by promoter Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing, about working with the young southpaw.
“I said send him down and I’ll see how bad he wants it and let you know. By the end of the first day I knew he was going to work out fine. He has surpassed all my expectations as far as work ethic and desire.”
Shields says he has O’Connor (14-1. 3 KOs) working on sitting down on his punches more and on developing more of a defense than simply relying on reflexes.
“Right now, I’m here with no car. I have to walk everywhere and I’m staying at another fighter’s place until I get settled in. I miss my family and I can’t wait to move them down here, but this is what I have to do to become a champion, so this is what I’m doing.”
O’Connor’s September 21 opponent is currently TBA.