For both Tom O’Connor and Chris Day, a title shot is something they’ve been waiting their entire careers for.
On Saturday night, O’Connor (7-1, Lethbridge) will battle Day (5-4, Kelowna) for the vacant XFFC featherweight title in the co-main event of XFFC 18 in Penticton, B.C.
Currently riding a seven-fight win streak, O’Connor, 26, said a title is the one thing missing from his resume that could be a big turning point for his career.
“Right now, this is the catapult I need,” said O’Connor in an interview.
“It’s the perfect timing to win this belt and launch my name into some bigger people’s minds and some bigger shows.”
Out of O’Connor’s seven professional victories, five of them have been finishes prior to the third round.
O’Connor said he’ll once again be looking to jump out to a fast start, and not give Day a chance to settle in.
“I want to put the pressure on him right from the start. As soon as I lock eyes on him, he’s the prey and I’m the predator,” said O’Connor.
“Right from the start, I want it to be tough for him to breathe. I just want to work, work, work, work until he drowns.”
Saturday’s bout will be O’Connor’s first fight at featherweight since 2015, and just his second in his professional career.
Typically a lightweight fighter, O’Connor said he just simply couldn’t say no to the opportunity to fight for his first title.
“I can make 145. I’ve done it before, so I’m going to force myself to get down there and be in good shape doing it,” said O’Connor.
“The opportunity was there and Darren Cliffe at XFFC offered it to me. I wasn’t going to say no to an opportunity like that at this point of my career.”
Also preparing for his first career title fight, Day, 28, has one thing going for him that O’Connor doesn’t; the hometown fans.
When he found out he would be fighting for a title just 50 minutes from his hometown of Kelowna, Day said he was beyond excited.
“As soon as I heard about the opportunity, I jumped all over it,” said Day in an interview.
“It’s just the perfect opportunity being in Penticton.”
This will be the first time since 2013 Day has been able to compete this close to home.
Although he doesn’t expect the crowd to have much of an effect on O’Connor, Day said he himself will certainly have that little extra boost knowing so many of his friends and family are in the crowd.
“It’s definitely going to give me that little extra motivation,” said Day.
“But even if I was going to fight elsewhere, I’m so prepared for this fight that it doesn’t even matter.”
Despite having a combined 10 finishes between the two of them, Day said he feels this has the makings of a five-round war.
Day said he and O’Connor are both tough guys with everything to prove, and doesn’t expect a win will come easy either way.
“Every fight I’m in, I know they’re very exciting,” said Day.
“It should be a good, fast-paced, five round fight. I hope he’s ready to go five rounds because my cardio’s on point right now.”
“I’d like to thank my family and friends, and everyone that supports me. I’d also like to thank my coaches and team: Brad Wall Trevor Hardy, Connor Derry, Vlad Tatarinov. I also would like to thank my sponsors Westco Construction, Progressive Fighting Academy, Hard Training, BAIN, and Source Fort Macleod.
“I’d like to give a shoutout to my sponsors Doctor Coughee, A Alimonti’s Plastering & Stucco, Most West Coast and Little Creek Grill.”