O'Brien fights on the undercard of Judah-Paris in Brooklyn.
New Jersey Native Faces Jeff Lentz on NBC Sports Network Fight Night Undercard
Vinny “The Lion” O’Brien (3-1, 2 KOs) looks to pick up his fifth professional win on Saturday, facing former MMA fighter Jeff Lentz (1-0, 1 KOs) on the undercard of Judah-Paris in Brooklyn. The loaded show is the latest installment of the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) Fight Night Boxing Series, with the featured portion of the card airing live on NBCSN.
“Training has been going really well,” the East Hanover, New Jersey, native remarked. “Since my last fight to now, I’ve changed trainers and management. Someone who was in my corner during my last fight is now my full-time coach. Lou Esa was in my corner as a manager and coach, but we didn’t see completely eye-to-eye on a bunch of issues. We’re still good friends and still talk, but we decided to sever ties on the business relationship.”
While settling things outside of the ring, O’Brien has been unable to lock up a bout since he last fought on September 14th in Newark (a unanimous decision win over Carlos Velez), and he admits that distance from the lights have left him somewhat frustrated.
“On the business end, I’ve been taken out of the ring, which has kind of been pissing me off, but I’ve just been taking out my aggressions in the gym,” he stated. “I’ve been in the gym consistently, and we’ve been working on a lot of fundamentals. Our thing from the get-go has been fundamentals, picking up where we left off the last time, and we’ve just been working. We’ve been working to be that guy who can be the boxer and brawl when he has to brawl. I’ve been taking big strides and sparring a lot of great fighters, among them being Miguel Cotto’s brother. We’ve just been trying to continue to grow. Training has been going awesome. I feel great this camp, and I feel great for this fight. My weight is dead on, and I’m feeling good to go, man.”
This fight also marks the return of O’Brien to a card promoted by Main Events, which combines efforts with Peltz Boxing to put on the NBCSN Fight Night Series. O’Brien fought each of his first three professional bouts under the Main Events banner, and this outing puts him back on its stage for the first time in nearly a year.
“I’m excited to be working with Main Events again, with Kathy, Jolene, Kim, Ellen and all of the guys over there,” he confirmed. “I’m excited to be on this card because it’s a star-studded card. You have Liakovich, Adamek, Zab Judah, you know? You have a lot of good guys from the undercard all the main events. I think we have four or five fights on this card that could be their own cards anywhere else. It’s kind of like an old school type of card.”
While still new to the sport of boxing, Lentz will certainly be a worthy opponent standing opposite O’Brien, bringing a mixed martial arts background that includes experience in Bellator and Ring of Combat along with a record in that sport of 9-2. However, boxing is a game in which O’Brien has much more experience, and he looks to capitalize on that on Saturday night.
“The guy I’m fighting is Jeff Lentz, who actually fought about a month ago against the kid I fought in my pro debut, David Navarro, and he TKOed him just like I TKOed him,” O’Brien stated. “He’s coming from an MMA background. I’ve never seen him fight personally, but I know a couple of guys who have seen him, and I know he has been in the fight game for a while. He’s a tough kid, and he’s coming to fight. I know he’s ready to bang heads like I am. I’m really excited to get in there and be the better boxer, be the stronger guy, be the conditioned guy and the veteran in the ring. He’s coming with some momentum, and I plan on just doing my thing and working my game plan in the ring.”
On the business end of things, O’Brien has also seen some exciting developments occur, and the young welterweight will be strapped up with Grant Boxing gloves for the first time when he meets Lentz.
“There was a mutual group of friends who sponsor me, Becker Brothers,” he said of how the partnership was created with Grant Boxing. “They’re a real estate company, and they’re really good friends of mine who sponsor me on the outside. They got me in touch with Grant, and we sat down with them. The rep we talked to was excited. He was like ‘Listen, I like you. I want to set you up with Grant apparel and gear for this fight. It’s a little bit of a short notice before the fight, and I’d give you a lot more gear if I had time, but we’ll get everything going for now.’ He was an awesome guy, a great and down to Earth guy. He just kind of liked me as an individual and really wanted to see me fight in Grant gloves. I was excited about the deal, and this is a good step in my career. I’ve been working for things like this, and these are the small steps in your career that make you smile. It makes you feel you’re getting there, little by little.”
The key words often used by O’Brien are excited and excitement, which is what he has given to every person who has seen him throw blows in his first four professional fights. He comes with the heart of a lion, and don’t expect Saturday night to be any different.