Interesting facts ablout Ben Whittaker's first professional opponent Greg O’Neil
Debutant Ben ‘B£NZO’ Whittaker will launch his professional career against solid opposition against the experienced County Durham fighter Greg ‘The Real Deal’ O’Neil (6-6-1, 1 KO) on July 30 at the Bournemouth International Centre.
The Tokyo 2020 silver medalist crosses over to the professional ranks with the stated intention of becoming the greatest British boxer of all time. His first assignment en route to that goal will be against O'Neill on the undercard of Chris Billam-Smith vs Isaac Chamberlain.
Trained by SugarHill Steward, the 6′ 3’’ light-heavyweight from West Brom has elected to make his professional debut in a six-round fight, skipping the traditional four-round entry level.
Whittaker skyrocketed to fame after the last Olympic Games and his pro bow will be one of the most highly-anticipated debuts of the year, but who is his unknown opponent, Greg O’Neil? BBN found out some interesting info below:
Greg ‘The Real Deal’ O’Neil
Born in Sunderland in 1991, he is now 31 and resides in Horden, County Durham.
He was an amateur boxer with Horden ABC.
As a pro, he trains out of Gus Robinson Developments gym with head coach Peter Cope and coach Alan Temple. His teammates are Jordan Ellison (13-39-3, 1KO) and Anthony Hardy (10-3), although 'Anth' hung up his gloves following a long-standing eye injury.
Greg O’Neil's professional boxing debut was way back in March 2012, over 10 years ago now, in Hartlepool. His pro career started disastrously as he was knocked down in the first round by journeyman Simon Jenkinson (1-1-1, 1KO at the time). He managed to rally back to win the remaining three rounds to scrape a 38-37 points win.
His next two bouts went smoother, resulting in shutout points wins to reach 3-0 by the end of 2012.
In his fourth bout, he decided to go on the road and lost to 7-0 Lewis Taylor, via stoppage in round six of eight. It was Taylor's first stoppage win and he went on to become English middleweight champion.
He has also taken on the formidable Felix Cash, but only managed to last 54 seconds against the middleweight powerhouse.
Whittaker is not the first Olympian he will have shared the ring with. In 2014, O’Neill took London 2012 bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo the full six-round distance in Scotland, live on sky Sports, competing on the same card as Terence Crawford and Anthony Joshua.
After a three-year hiatus, Greg came back to KO debutant Zygimantas Butkevicius in the first round of their March 2017, which then led to an eight-round clash (just two weeks later) with former English title contender Harry Matthews, who he defeated on points to win the Challenge Belt. After an exciting contest, O’Neil won with scores of 77-75.