Team Kaobon’s Anthony O’Connor is raring to get back to competition this Saturday when he makes the walk at Almighty Fighting Championship 24. Standing across from him is Norweigan native Ole-Jørgen Mandt Johnsen.
Almighty FC takes the main stage from The Olympia in Liverpool this Saturday. On paper, promoter Ray Thompson has put together a regional fight card of the year within the UK. As always, those in attendance can expect well-matched amateur and professional fights.
O’Connor currently stands at (4-4) in his career, which is a testament to the lightweight always looking for the toughest bouts. We had the opportunity to speak with O’Connor before his big fight.
Interview With Anthony O’Connor
We are now in the madness of fight week. How is fight week usually for you? Are you one of these relaxed people, or stressed and just eager for fight night to come?
I love fight week!! It’s probably my best week out of the whole camp. I get so excited that I forget I’m cutting weight, to be honest.
It’s been some time since we’ve seen you out there. How much are you looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd? With all your friends and family there, I imagine that’s a buzz you missed.
I haven’t fought in just over a year, so I can’t wait to get back in there. There’s nothing like a home crowd! I’m going to soak up the atmosphere, use it to my advantage and enjoy every minute of it.
Time Outside of the Octagon
What have you been doing in the time away from the Octagon to keep yourself busy and mentally sane? Have you still been consistently training throughout inactivity from the Octagon?
Since I’ve been back at Team Kaobon, I’ve been training day and night and teaching classes and helping the younger generation of mma fighters coming through. I love coaching!
Two years out is a long time away. However, it is also a long time to constantly grind and get better every day. What improvements can we expect to see from you as opposed to the last time we saw you out there?
Since I’ve been out, I’ve been helping other fighters at Team Kabon with their fight camps, so I don’t class myself as being out for that long. You’ll see a more calculated and more determined fighter than last time. My whole MMA game is stronger now.
Team Morale in the Gym
How has the buzz and team morale been in the gym in this camp? With Aspinall and Grundy preparing for huge fights and team-mates sharing the Almighty card with you? Has that made this camp and return to competition easier for you?
The whole gym is full of champions! Whether it’s an amateur fight or a UFC fight, we all push each other. There’s so much talent on the mat, and the morale is always high.
How have you found the coaching aspect of the fight game? Is that something you feel has elevated your IQ as a fighter also, and do you believe that will give you an advantage ahead of your meeting with Ole-Jorgen Mandt Johnsen this Saturday?
The coaching side has only added to my confidence and helped me sharpen up my skills. It helps keep everything fresh, so of course, it will benefit me on the night.
Are you someone who prepares and structures their camp around a certain style and studying tape? If so, has it been challenging preparing for Ole-Jorgen Mandt Johnsen due to him also undergoing a period of inactivity, and a lot could have changed in that time away?
My coaches have done their homework. We’ve done the training. I’m ready for anything!
Ole-Jorgen Mandt Johnsen is someone who’s been around the UK regional scene since 2014 and has gone to the judges once at both amateur and pro-level. You’re not someone who likes leaving it in the judge’s scorecards. What type of fight are you anticipating? Can those attending expect a fight of the night banger or a cool, calculated Anthony O’Connor performance?
I honestly don’t see this going past the first round. No disrespect to him, but I know I will finish him.
Featured image credits to Anthony O’Connor