Eamonn O’Kane believes fighting on the Kell Brook vs. Matthew Hatton undercard was the perfect preparation for his Prizefighter all-Irish Middleweights appearance at King’s Hall in Belfast on May 5, live on Sky Sports.
The Dungiven man beat local boy Wayne Reed at the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield on St. Patrick’s Day in his fourth professional bout. The 30 year old put Reed down in the fifth on the way to an impressive 60-53 points win in their six rounder and now has his sights set firmly on the Prizefighter trophy and the £32,000 winner’s cheque – and the big fights and title shots that victory would bring.
“The night in Sheffield was a great night, I hadn’t fought since September so it was nice to blow the cobwebs out before Prizefighter,” O’Kane said. “It was great to be on such a massive card. It was the biggest crowd I’ve fought in front of. I’ve fought in the Odyssey Arena and that was seven or eight thousand, this was near enough 10,000 in Sheffield. It was fantastic.
"It was my fourth professional fight and it started slowly, but then I started to find him and I caught him with some good shots and had him down in the fifth,” said O’Kane. “I was happy with the power I was showing. He was a game opponent and I like people who come to fight, so in the end it was an interesting fight.
"He told me afterwards that he was struggling and under pressure in there so to make up for it he was winding me up and I got caught up in it. I shouldn’t have, I should’ve just boxed. But you’re learning all the time and it while it wasn’t a perfect performance, it was a good one and a win so I was happy with it.”
O’Kane had extremely successful amateur career, the highlight being his Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2010, and he thinks that experience will give him the edge in the Kings Hall.
“All of my boxing career, both as an amateur and a professional, everything I’ve learned, especially from that night in Sheffield, will help me in Prizefighter,” said O’Kane. “When I won gold I knew it was live on TV and the stadium was full – all those experiences are going to help me to do well on May 5.
"There’s going to be hundreds of thousands of people watching it on Sky and internationally, and the King’s Hall will be packed out with people screaming and shouting for different guys. It’s going to be amazing on the night. Hopefully most of them will be screaming for me, but it will be a great night either way.”
O’Kane is joined in the 24th edition of Matchroom Sport’s eight-man, one night tournament by Anthony Fitzgerald, Joe Rea, JJ McDonagh, Simon O’Donnell, Ryan Greene and Darren Cruise, with the final name to be added in the next 24 hours after Mark Heffron pulled out with a hand injury.
Before the action gets underway there are two fights with exciting young flyweight Jamie Conlan becomes the latest Prizefighter Prospect and the ever-popular former British featherweight champion Martin Lindsay continues his journey back to title contention.
The Prizefighter all-Irish Middleweights is followed by a huge fight in the career of Paul McCloskey as he takes on former World champion ‘Chop Chop’ DeMarcus Corley in a bid to get back into World title contention.
Tickets are priced at £30 (unreserved), £40 (reserved balcony or unreserved floor), £60 (outer-ringside) and £100 (ringside) are available from Ticketmaster on 0844 277 4455 – UK/Northern Ireland customers, 0818 719 300 – Republic of Ireland customers and at www.ticketmaster.ie
VIP packages priced £150 are available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com
Paul McCloskey’s fans can also buy their tickets at the prices above from Eurospar Dungiven and any EuroXchange outlet.