O’Sullivan: Hearn wanted to keep O’Kane away from me
By Jonny Stapleton
Eddie Hearn’s desire to protect Eamonn O’Kane was the reason Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan did not compete in the all Irish Prizefighter in Belfast on May 5, the Cork middleweight claimed.
After coming under fire from Team O’Sullivan Hearn revealed he contacted Dean Powell, matchmaker for O’Sullivan’s promoter Frank Warren, offering the Irish champ a spot on the Kings Hall hosted tournament. Indeed the Matchroom boss stressed the Pascal Collins trained fighter was the second Irish middleweight he contacted re Prizefighter, but claims two of his three his advances rebuffed.
O’Sullivan is adamant he never turned down the opportunity to compete on the career changing show and as Irish middleweight champion, ‘Spike’ he claims his presence was vital in an all Irish contest.
The undefeated Celtic Gym fighter believes Hearn wanted to make his fighter Eamonn O’Kane the main middleweight man, but warned the Derry star that he can’t call himself Ireland’s best till he faces the Cork native.
A statement released by O’Sullivan today read as follows:
“I have been reading the stories and watching the television footage regarding my omission from The Prizefighter 2012, and I want to go on the record and set things straight.
Eddie Hearn made a statement last week in which he claimed that I had turned down three offers to take part in The Prizefighter because I want to protect my unbeaten record. This is completely incorrect.
My camp received a call a few weeks before the television show started filming and Pascal Collins was asked if I’d be interested in taking part if Anthony Fitzgerald had to pull out to fight for a title. Pascal spoke to me and I immediately said yes, even though it would have been at just a few weeks’ notice. We never heard back about it one way or the other, and I have never received or refused any other invitation to appear on the show.
I would jump at the chance to showcase my talents on a show like The Prizefighter, and if Eddie Hearn really wanted the undefeated Irish middleweight champion in the competition he would have spoken to Pascal or Steve Collins and it would have happened. Instead he is now claiming that he made approaches to somebody working at Frank Warren Promotions that my management and I knew absolutely nothing about.
Boxing is a business as well as a sport, and Eddie Hearn is a good businessman. It is his job to protect his fighters and to work towards getting them title shots. A heavy defeat to me will not help Eamon O’Kane in that regard, and I understand why Eddie wants to keep Eamon well away from me.
That said, if Eamon O’Kane wants to be considered as the best Irish middleweight then he had better get into the ring with me and prove it. I am the undefeated Irish middleweight champion. I have 14 fights, 14 wins, 9 knockouts and 2 belts. I have nothing to prove to anybody.
If Eamon O’Kane has the courage to fight me then he’ll win my respect, but I suspect that nobody in his camp wants that to happen.”