By John Evans
Timing is everything in boxing. If you require hard evidence of this then look no further than 28-year-old light middleweight Steve O’Meara. Over the past year, the Londoner has witnessed at first-hand how a boxer’s career can be defined by being – or not being - in the right place at the right time.
Having progressed to 13-2 (2), O’Meara introduced himself to a larger audience last September with a first round knockout of Ryan Toms on the very first BoxNation broadcast. Riding the crest of a wave, he repeated the feat less than three months later with another quick stoppage of Nathan Weise. The man who had been seen as a light punching box fighter couldn’t have timed his reincarnation as a knockout artist any better.
“Yeah, if people hadn’t seen me on any other channels and only caught me on BoxNation, they’d think I was a banger!” laughed O’Meara in a recent conversation with BoxingScene. “That doesn’t tell the full story up to that point. Hopefully it’ll carry on, I’ll knock somebody else out and they can carry on thinking it.”
O’Meara, now 15-2 (4), is guided by former European featherweight champion Jim McDonnell and in this recent interview, https://www.boxingscene.com/jim-mcdonnell-on-james-degales-camp-omeara-more—50861, the trainer shared the secret to his charge's recent run of knockouts – yes, you’ve guessed it. Timing. When speaking about O’Meara, McDonnell said that, “Anything to do with timing, he’s the best you’ll see.”
“Everyone forgets I didn’t have a long amateur career and I’m still learning” says O’Meara. “Even though I’m 28, I’m not a 28 year old fighter if that makes sense. Most 28 year old guys are at their peak or just over it but I feel like there’s still much more to come. The timing is just one of those things that comes over time and all the hard work and training’s been paying off.”
Hard work comes as standard under McDonnell’s regime, but all the blood, sweat and tears in the world won’t bring the type of improvement O’Meara has shown unless they are supplemented by something extra. By all accounts, the something extra inside O’Meara is a burning desire to improve and be successful.
“Jim says I remind him a lot of himself because I’m so determined. I’m the first in to the gym and the last out” he revealed. “I’ve almost got OCD when it comes to the gym. From when I started with Jim to where I am now, I’m a different fighter. I always knew that if I stuck with it I’d get somewhere otherwise I probably wouldn’t have wasted my time! Now I’m at that pivotal point where the hard work’s paying off and I can hopefully carry it on.”
Now we return to the matter of timing. O’Meara was initially due to capitalise on his success this March, but saw a scheduled bout with Bradley Pryce postponed until May. Then, deep into final preparations for the fight, O’Meara was struck down with a virus and found himself with little option but to withdraw. As far as building on the momentum he had gained, in this instance, the timing couldn’t have been worse.
“I’d built up so much momentum, was getting talked about quite a lot after those two performances [Toms and Weise] and people wanted to see me push on to a better calibre of opponent,” he said. “I’d always said I was above that level and it was just a matter of time until I showed it. I was showing it and was just waiting for a shot. I don’t know why but everything happens for a reason though and I’m getting back in shape and looking to crack on and get a couple of good wins this year.”
The light-middleweight division is crying out for somebody to take hold of it. British champion Brian Rose, Commonwealth champion Jamie Cox, Prince Arron and Sam Webb are amongst O’Meara’s companions in the domestic Top 10 and he is looking forward to the potential clashes with his rivals.
“Ideally I’d come back with a nice eight or ten rounder but if the opportunity came up to fight Brian Rose for the British, Jamie Cox for the Commonwealth or a final eliminator came up then yeah, I’m interested” said O’Meara.
“In an ideal world though I’d get a run out because when you look at it, although I boxed twice in September and December I didn’t even get a round in and the last time I boxed before that was last June. I’ve not even had a round in a year. Not that that matters because I put in the hard work in the gym but it’s been six or seven months since I boxed which ain’t great.
“There’s nobody dominating it or nobody that you think is above this level. I’d love to be the one that everybody looks at as being number one. I’m hoping to get the chance to show it and I think I will. I think we’ll all fight each other and we’ll soon find out who’s number one. We’re all fighters and that’s what should happen in the division.”