Connor and Owen will leave friendship outside the ring come title fight
8:00am Sunday 1st September 2013 in Sport
By Tim Rickson
Carshalton-based southern area light welterweight champion Danny 'Cassius' Connor vows to put his friendship with challenger and fellow Carshalton resident Tony Owen to one side when they meet in the ring in October.
The Surrey pair will be battling it out for the belt as well as bragging rights on Matchroom Eddie Hearn's 'Carpe Diem' show at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London on October 5.
Going into the fight, champion Connor is focused on business and promises to defend his title successfully against his pal.
“I’m on the rise and he isn’t. He wanted the fight, so may the best man win. I will,” said Connor.
Connor, 27, (10-6-1) and 26-year-old Owen (14-2-0), first trained together at Rosehill ABC in Sutton, Surrey more than 10 years ago.
“We lived in the same area and Tony and his brother Lee were well known for being world champion kick boxers and that Tony had won the novices at Roundshaw ABC.
"They then came and started training and fighting out of Rosehill ABC and that’s where we met properly at the age of 17,” Connor said.
“We have since been on holiday together, had countless nights out and good times, as well as sharing bad times when our friend Lewis Pinto passed away.”
Owen’s best friend Lewis Pinto tragically took his own live in June 2012 after battling depression for many years.
Pinto had just entered the professional ranks at the age of 24, impressing on his debut against Danny Donchev at The Coronet, Elephant & Castle by dropping his opponent twice with powerful body shots.
Connor said: “Tony would ring me anytime he needed advice on an opponent or help with his career.
"I tried my hardest for three days solid to get him in Prizefighter by tweeting Eddie Hearn and Matchroom relentlessly.”
A true Cinderella man, Connor has been on a fantastic journey over the past two years, losing just once in eight contests when he reached the final of the light welterweight Prizefighter tournament in July this year.
It took six professional fights for Connor to earn his first victory when he turned pro in 2010 but since then he has claimed the vacant British Masters welterweight title by defeating Tyler Goodjohn, and the southern area light welterweight title by beating an in-form, confident Chris Evangelou twice.
Connor recently took part in the popular Prizefighter tournament, live on Sky Sports at the famous York Hall in London, reaching the final by beating hot prospects Charlie Rice in the quarter finals and Ryan Taylor in the semis on unanimous points decisions.
He was defeated in the final by unbeaten prospect Chris Jenkins who had handed Owen an early exit after the first stage of the tournament.
Challenger Owen's only losses from 14 professional fights have come in the form of respectable opponents in British title challenger Ben Murphy and Prizefighter champion Jenkins.
Wanted the fight: Tony Owen, left, asked to take on Danny Connor
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