Facing an experienced, tricky customer like Joe Rea in only your third professional outing is a reasonable statement of intent and that is just what Eamon O’Kane was hoping for on Saturday night. Supporting his good friend Paul McCloskey, both in and out of the ring, the Dungiven native has turned pro relatively late at 29 years of age and is not prepared to hang around on the domestic circuit.
“It’s onwards and upwards for me now,’ grinned Eamon, with sweat dripping off his head and body, shortly after recording an 80-73 win over Ballymena man Rea. “I’m glad to get the eight rounds, this is my first time past five and I’ve got good experience from the World Series of Boxing so I needed to get the rounds in the bank if I’m going to push for titles.”
Not content with merely testing his skills out on the big Odyssey undercard, O’Kane was equally as keen to test out his chin. At one point he dropped the gloves and invited Joe in for a few free digs. Rea duly obliged and O’Kane reveled in the ring warfare.
“He took some big shots and I stood on the ropes and let him hit me because I wanted to see what he had in his locker. I liked getting hit with a few shots because it makes me feel like I’ve been in a fight. I like to give the fans a fight which is what they come to see.
“Joe had a good defence, he was slippery and held the gloves high so the body was there to be attacked. I felt great in the later rounds. I’m 29 and I’ve had my tough introduction into the pro game so I’ve done it at the fast amateur pace. I was ready to move on past six rounds, I’ve never stopped training since my second fight.”
So how did Eamon warm to the big venue and Sky-televised attraction?
“I enjoyed it, it’s a great stadium and Paul McCloskey is my idol, I’ve looked up to him for all my days. It’s great to be on his undercard.”
The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist has few requests when choosing his opponents but preferably somebody who meets him head on for a tear-up would do nicely.
“Whoever I get I want them to come and fight me,” O’Kane enforced. “I want to get on the Gavin Rees undercard in three weeks’ time, so hopefully Matchroom can make that happen.”