(SNO) — Global pop superstar Rihanna hand-picked Dudley O’Shaughnessy as the on-screen love interest for her steamy “We Found Love” video, and the two reportedly embarked on a brief romantic entanglement.
The two modelled together for the Barbadian singer’s FENTY brand, as he began to grow in popularity. But all along, Dudley O’Shaughnessy harboured an Olympic dream.
Now aged 29, O’Shaughnessy was born in East London. His father (Brian) is Saint Lucian, with Afro-Caribbean and Irish heritage, much like the footballing Ferdinand family, including former England captain, Rio Ferdinand.
O’Shaughnessy, though, became known for a different sport. His dad, a former boxer, introduced his son to the pugilistic arts from an early age.
In fact, the younger O’Shaughnessy was an amateur boxer from the age of 9. He would go on to become the British amateur welterweight champion in 2010, after being the runner-up in 2009. However, he was still overlooked by the British Olympic Association. Forget speed bumps, O’Shaughnessy’s boxing career, at that point, appeared to have hit a brick wall.
“I was ranked number one in the country — I was a prospect for the Olympics. I won the [Amateur Boxing Association] Championships and still got overlooked by Team GB,” O’Shaughnessy said. “When something is your dream and you do everything you need to do to get to your dream, but then you’re still not getting picked, you think ‘What will I do?'”
But along came modelling, and “that” video. Since 2011, he has done work for Oswald Boateng, Fred Perry, and Stone Island (where he featured in a short film portraying his aspiration to be an Olympic boxer). He appeared on the cover of fashion magazines as well as featuring in the editorial by Bullett Magazine, alongside Vogue cover girl Valerie van der Graaf.
But that Olympic dream… Rated in the welterweight class (69 kg / 152 lbs) O’Shaughnessy stands 1.85m (6’1″) and has long been listed as one of the top British fighters in his class. His obsessive need to keep busy – he admits that he battles with depression — coupled with a looming potential opportunity got the former champion back in the gym.
“I have been training a lot lately,” he notes. “And the return might actually be happening! There is an opportunity to enter a massive competition representing my dad’s home nation of Saint Lucia. It’s an honour to have dual heritage, and it gives me the opportunity to represent Saint Lucia, which is something I’ve always dreamed of doing.”
The competition in question is the 2019 AMBC Pan American Games Qualifiers, which will be held from April 2 in Managua, Nicaragua. There, he will be hoping to win one or two bouts, place in the top eight in his weight class, and qualify to the 2019 Pan American Games this summer in Lima, Peru. And from all reports, he has very high hopes of doing well.
With his father in his corner, he will also be accompanied by David “Shakes” Christopher, president of the Saint Lucia Boxing Association. After Nicaragua, he is expected to return to Saint Lucia to meet young boxers, and share some of his knowledge of the sport. From there, it’s back to modelling and acting, including an upcoming NetFlix project.
“It’s like two different worlds, two different cultures, two different atmospheres,” he says of the difference between modelling and boxing. “However, the grace in the fighter and the model is the same: there is a certain quality in someone boxing or modelling that you just can’t take your eye off.”
The role of a lifetime alongside one of the most talked-about personalities of the modern era propelled the young Saint Lucian’s entertainment career. It is left to be seen whether Dudley O’Shaughnessy will be able to live out his dreams of becoming an Olympic boxer in a Saint Lucia jersey.