Hearn has high hopes for Eamonn O’Kane
Eddie Hearn is not looking to hang around with the career of Eamonn O’Kane and the promoter wants to use his Dungiven asset’s Prizefighter success as a springboard into championship contests. Eddie will provide the 30-year-old middleweight with a test on September 22 and could even throw in Kerry Hope as an opponent. Hope upset the odds and briefly held the European title recently before surrendering it back to quality Pole Grzegorz Proksa in eight bad tempered rounds earlier this month. O’Kane could next use the rangy Welsh southpaw as a yardstick for his own progression.
“I’d like to see O’Kane in against somebody like Kerry Hope which would be a big step-up as Kerry showed that he could get to European level but was not quite at European level really,” Hearn explained at the recent ‘Judgement Day’ press conference in Belfast’s Europa Hotel.
“That’s a big risk fight for a 7-0 fighter like Eamonn but again if we’re looking at other Irish fights then Anthony Fitzgerald had a good scrap with Eamonn in the first round of Prizefighter. Even going beyond that to maybe a Craig McEwan and it all depends on what the team wants but it has to be a meaningful fight with a minimum of 10 rounds and we’re looking at maybe the Irish title. I want to find out how good O’Kane is over distance rather than just six rounds or three rounds, because Eamonn gets stronger as his fights go on and he needs those rounds to progress. He always starts fast and gets into great scraps. Every fight I’ve seen him in has been an incredible fight, not just Prizefighter but also the Joe Rea and Wayne Reed fights.”
Even though a distance encounter with the likes of long-reigning former Irish champion Anthony Fitzgerald or previous victim Joe Rea have been talked about it would be preferable to see O’Kane to get stuck in to a fresh face. With the British title circuit tied up at present perhaps someone like Hope or McEwan could bring the best out of the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist who bridged the gap between amateur and professional with a stint in the innovative World Series of Boxing.
“I want to step Eamonn O’Kane up,” continued Hearn, “not madly, but obviously he won Prizefighter which doesn’t really show you a lot about him although he showed a lot of heart and brawn to win. It’s difficult to show all of your skills in Prizefighter because it’s a bit wham-bam but he won it and he has a great platform there to progress. He will have a good popularity base but it’s time to step him up a bit in this next fight.”