O’Kane’s Prizefighter win ruined by McCloskey loss
By Jonny Stapleton
Eamonn O’Kane’s Prizefighter joy was quickly replaced by despair last Saturday night after his victory was followed by defeat to his close friend and ‘hero’ Paul McCloskey.
‘King’ O’Kane was crowned Prizefighter champion in the Kings Hall on Satruday night but when he addressed the media after the exciting fight night the tears in his eyes were not tears of joy.
The 30 year old Dungiven mate was delighted he registered a career changing victory, but the celebrations where ruined by the fact ‘Dudey’ suffered a knock out defeat that will could downgrade him from world to European level.
“I am just gutted for Paul,” O’Kane said. “I can’t believe he lost. It would have been a great night with himself, Martin Lindsay and Carl Frampton here in September. Paul is my idol and hero I am just so upset for him.”
McCloskey aside the Commonwealth gold medallist couldn’t have been happier with how his date with the first all irish Prizefighter went.
Having over come Anthony Fitzgerald in one of the best fights the exciting tournament has ever thrown up, O’Kane stopped Lurgan’s Ryan Greene in round of the final before over coming a gutsy JJ McDonagh in the decider.
Prizefighter victories have launched fighters into title contention in the past. Irish winners Willie Casey and Martin Rogan claimed European titles and Commonwealth crowns respectfully after lifting the prestigious trophy.
Eddie Hearn would prefer the popular former amateur stand out and seven fight pro novice to have a couple of eight round battles before progressing to title level, but O’Kane agrees but feels its only a matter of time before he is competing with top European middleweights.
“I’m looking to get something out of this. I’m seven and 0 now; am I good enough to fight for a Commonwealth or European title like the other Irish winners of Prizefighter – Martin Rogan and Willie Casey did? I think I’m good enough quality-wise, but I need a bit more conditioning and a few more fights. It would be great if I could get a couple of ten rounds fights to build myself up to that level,” he added.
“I thought Kerry Hope did a fantastic job beating [Grzegorz] Proksa for the European title two months ago, but is Kerry Hope leagues ahead of me? I don’t think so, but on the twelve rounds he might at the moment. I’ll sit down with the team and we’ll see where we’re at.”