Kenny Okungbowa calls for fair play ahead of heavyweight decider


The Irish heavyweight scene has been blown wide open and Kenny Okungbowa wants to become our newest champion.

However, the Athlone big man has called for fair play ahead of his 91kg decider with Tony Browne.

Okungbowa has finished runner-up three times, twice to Darren O’Neill at heavyweight and once to Cathal McMonagle at super heavy as a youngster, and believes he has been unlucky a number of times over the past decade.

Following his semi-final win over Karol Dlugosz, the 29-year-old told Irish-Boxing.com that “let’s just look at this way, Irish boxing can be unpredictable.”

“You can come up with the goods but sometimes… it’s opinionated. You can get the right opinion, you can not get the right opinion, you can get the nod, you can not get the nod.”

“I’m going to just enjoy myself this time, I’m not going to worry. I’ve nothing more to prove, I can box, I can fight. I hope for a fair decision.”

Browne scored a statement win over reigning champion Kirill Afanasev in the corresponding semi-final, the latest big result for the Dubliner who has moved up from light heavyweight.

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The St Michael’s man also holds a big win over Dutch star Peter Mullenburg – but a rare heavyweight defeat came at the gloves of Okungbowa who beat him in the Celtic Box Cup final, with Browne also holding a win over the Athlone fighter.

The Midlander isn’t reading too much into the result, though, and noted how “I hold a win over him but that doesn’t mean nothing.”

“It’s up to the judges and the referee. I’ll deliver and they need to treat me right.”

“He’s not going to want to fight and come forward, he’s going to want to pick his punches and run but I’m like ‘alright, I can do that’.”

“People say ‘you can beat the fighter, you can’t beat the name’ – I don’t see a name, I just see another fighter in front of me.”

READ: Tony Browne staying focused after Afanasev scalp

Physically strong, awkward as hell, but with extremely underrated skills, Okungbowa can be a nightmare opponent.

The World Universities bronze medallist is more than confident he can win but, again, is urging fair play.

Okungbowa outlined how “everyone has a different way of fighting, I can be aggressive and tactical, if you let me box my way, give me a fair decision, you know what I can do.”

“I’m here to win, I’m here to fight, I won’t back down.”

“I want to be Irish champion, I know I can do it, they know I can do it, give me a shot.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie