Ken Okungbowa eased into the Senior Elite final this past weekend, and looked better than ever while doing so.
In the past some may have dismissed the Athlone big man as being a somewhat crude slugger, but Okungbowa showed a vastly improved skill-set in his semi final with Cormac Long.
The World University Championships bronze medalist has come on massively in recent years and was in fine form against the Limerick youngster, himself a decorated underage fighter. There was a wide range of shots and plenty of showboating as Okungbowa bounced his way to a comprehensive unanimous decision win.
Afterwards he described how “I boxed within within myself, but I shook off the ring rust and I was just happy to be in there. I just let my hands go, got in there, and did the business.”
“I’m in constant training, I know people think it’s just three rounds, but three rounds of concentration, nine minutes, and mentally, and physically putting it together requires constant training.”
Okungbowa certainly seemed to be enjoying himself in the ring, and he noted how “boxing, if you’re not having the craic and not having fun, there’s no point to it. I’m having fun.”
Tomorrow night he is presented with a repeat of the 2015 final when he trades leather with London Olympian Darren O’Neill. Two years ago he was edged out on a split decision, but Okungbowa feels that now is his time to take over.
“I wanted the 2015 final,” he said “I wanted that title. He’s been around for a long time, I think it’s time for someone new. I thought he’d hang it up at this stage, like what age is he? It’s my time.”
“Bring on Darren O’Neill! I think he’s more worried about me than I’m worried about him. I look forward to it. It’ll be a bit of craic!”
Eric Donovan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 2 of the Irish Boxing Show: