Hennessy Sports promoted John O’Donnell and John Murray arrived in America on Tuesday ahead of their appearance on the Oscar de la Hoya-Floyd Mayweather undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 5th.
The “Golden Pair’ flew in to Los Angeles - the home of de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions - with their promoter Mick Hennessy and trainers Robert McCracken, (O’Donnell), and Joe Gallagher, (Murray).
They are currently based in Old Pasadena and have set up training camp in the gym de la Hoya will be using when he arrives from Puerto Rico. Preparations for their appearance on arguably the biggest card in boxing history will be finalised in Vegas itself after they relocate with the Golden Boy team early next week.
“This is an incredible experience,” said Junior Olympic Gold Medallist O’Donnell yesterday. “I’ve always been confident that I will get to box in America and appear on big shows later in my career, but I didn’t expect the chance to come this early.
“It’s given me a real taste for it - being part of this setup is unbelievable. LA is a great place and we are getting the best treatment. I’m really looking forward to Vegas and travelling over there with the Hennessy Sports and Golden Boy teams.”
O’Donnell’s appearance on this bill is a natural fit. The eye-catching southpaw, who has only just turned 21 and has strong Irish ancestry, has earned the nickname “The Golden One’ after a stellar amateur career and rapid progression as a professional that has already seen him claim the English welterweight title.
It is a lofty moniker, but one his team feels he can more than live up to. Whenever O’Donnell - whose gown bears the ancient Irish symbol for gold and ancient Irish wording for “The Golden One’ - boxes in the States, he will be co-promoted by de la Hoya and Hennessy.
As will John Murray, the other half of the “Golden Pair’. The history making WBC Youth Champion and current Boxing Writers’ Young Boxer of the Year will also box over ten rounds on the marquee event, which appropriately now features the best young talent in Europe.
“Everyone’s attention is going to be on this show, including the worldwide media,” said Murray. “This is a big chance for me to show people what I can do. It can really open the door to the big time if I put on a good performance. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.
“I want to see my own name up in lights as the main event in Vegas one day and this is a step towards that. I know that if I deliver the goods in the ring, Mick and Golden Boy can bring me over here for the big ones. I have got the perfect team around me.”
Hennessy sees the appearance of Britain’s “Golden Pair’ on the show as just the latest development in a relationship that is set to rapidly develop.
"We have got some big plans for the future with Golden Boy Promotions,” he said. “They have a fantastic team and there are a lot of things we can work on together, in both America and the UK.
The development of young talent is one of them.
“This is an incredible opportunity for John O’Donnell and John Murray to showcase their talents to the worldwide media and I am confident they will make the most of it.
“This is the biggest stage of all and they are perfect to be representing this side of the pond. They are made for TV fighters and have a style that I know the American’s will appreciate.
“Murray, an excellent pressure fighter, has already proved that; they really took to him when he boxed in Florida two years ago. He has a no-nonsense, never-say-die, gritty approach and doesn’t stop coming forward. That kind of style always goes down well over here.
“It is O’Donnell’s US debut and I know he’s going to make a big impact. He is a brilliant box fighter who can mix it up any which way. He has the quickest hands in the business. I know the Americans are going to love his six, seven, eight punch machine gun combinations.”