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Yorkshire boxer Cory O'Regan eyeing a title charge in 2023 after winning five fights in 12 months

For Cory O’Regan, 2022 was all about making up for lost time.

When the Liversedge-born boxer won his fourth professional bout in September 2019, little did he know it would be 27 months before he entered the ring for a fifth time.

The Covid-19 pandemic put O’Regan’s career on hold but he more than made up for it once he was able, as he fought five times in the space of 12 months between December 2021 and December 2022.

The most recent of those was on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s shock defeat to Alberto Lopez at the Leeds Arena, as O’Regan claimed the first stoppage victory of his career when he knocked out Antonio Rodriguez in the fourth round for a ninth professional triumph.

Cory O'Regan celebrates following his win over Antonio Rodriguez last month. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

It was the second time in 2022 he had boxed on a big show, after winning against Jakub Laskowski on the same March night Warrington knocked Kiko Martinez out in Leeds.

It has been a productive year for O’Regan, who has taken the opportunities to shine on the big stage while also staying busy away from the spotlight.

"I had two years of my career when I couldn't really fight,” reflected O’Regan after a busy 12 months.

"You could train but it is two years of your career that you have lost out on a little bit. You are making up for lost time.

Cory O'Regan has his arm raised. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

"These big shows and big fights and these performances, you need to be progressing with them.

"I have fought four times this calendar year but within 12 months it is five fights. It is what I needed.

"I needed to stay busy this year and that is what I managed to do. At this level, you need to stay busy and be out often."

Now that he is back on track after a Covid-enforced break – what is the plan for 2023?

Cory O'Regan and Antonio Rodriguez face off in Leeds. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

“I am early on in my career, it is just before I want to push for titles myself,” continues O’Regan.

"I am planning to have a big year next year. I turned 27 a week before I boxed at the Leeds Arena.

"I want to push for titles now. It will be a big 12 months now hopefully when I can get my first title and even look at picking up two. Different opportunities will come up.

"A lot of it can come down to luck and timing.

"As long as I am picking up titles, then I am heading in the right direction."

O’Regan first walked into a Cleckheaton Boxing Academy aged 10 before enjoying a fine amateur career which included a gold medal at the Great Britain Elite Three Nations tournament in 2018.

He became the first boxer to hold an English amateur title belt in 2016 and then went on to reach the senior Elite National Championships in the same year.

O’Regan’s final amateur fight was a defeat to rising Sheffield star Dalton Smith.

His decision to turn professional came after he was surprisingly snubbed for the Great Britain squad, dashing his hopes of becoming an Olympian.

He said: "I finished on around 80 amateur fights.

"I was on the England team and was boxing at a high level.

"I won the gold medal at the Three Nations and I was trying to get on the GB team. It was strange, I was on the team for a few weeks but then got told I wasn't on it anymore.

"After that, it was disheartening, because I wanted to box at the Olympics. After that the next step was to turn professional and try my luck at that.”

O’Regan now trains at Dicky’s Gym in Batley, where Warrington was based when he won his IBF featherweight title against Lee Selby in May 2018.

Barnsley super middleweight and central area champion Callum Simpson (10-0) is based in the gym while Brighouse’s Jimmy First (14-0) also spends some of his time training in Batley.

"I was doing strength work there when the lockdowns hit and then I was there all the time throughout the two years,” explained O’Regan into how he came to be based at Dicky’s Gym.

"It is the perfect atmosphere in the gym, we are all bouncing off each other. Callum picked his title up this year.

"Jimmy First does a little bit as well - so the gym is buzzing to be honest. We all thrive off each other.

"You are all pushing for the same thing in a way.

"Josh [Warrington] spent the majority of his career there as a professional but has opened his own gym now.

"It has always been a good gym. To be able to train there full time, that is a big advantage.”

O’Regan hopes the knockout victory in December will give him the chance to box on televised shows more often in 2023.

"Both of the performances I had on the shows was good. I made a better impression on the second show with the stoppage,” he added.

"The experience of boxing on these shows; it is the biggest stage in boxing in this country - especially the Matchroom shows. You are gaining a lot of good experience.”

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