A WORLD title shot is that close Eamonn O’Kane can taste it.
The IBF #7 fighter takes on Lewis Taylor on the Time is Now card in Derry on Saturday knowing his time is coming.
Victory over the undefeated English middleweight will move the Paddy Fitzpatrick trained fighter a step toward an coveted World title shot. Indeed, the Derry favourite and Commonwealth Gold medal winner could secure a shot as early this year and could even get home advantage.
The fighter that knocked Andy Lee out of the Olympic’s Hassan N’Dam challenges for the vacant strap over the summer and if he wins is more than willing to defend against O’Kane.
The French based Cameroonian’s Cork manager has already made contact with team O’Kane re the possible World title fight.
“I’m ranked No. 7 with the IBF so I’m within touching distance,” said O’Kane. “Hassan D’Dam has already been in contact saying he would love to fight me,” revealed O’Kane. “That would be a fight which would sell well in Ireland.
“It’s a dream of mine and it’s the reason why at 33 years-old I’m making these sacrifices is because I want the world title.
“I want to bring it home for the people of Derry. It’s a realistic goal but the first step is doing a job on Saturday night and I intend to do that.”
O’Kane’s homecoming clash is his second since teaming up with George Grove’s Irish trainer Fitzpatrick. He delivered a fourth round TKO of his opponent, Ferenc Hafner in his first with the trainer and he believes people will see ‘massive improvements’ on Saturday.
“Physically, I’m one of the strongest middleweights in the world – there’s no doubt about that,” he claimed.
“We’ve been working on technique,timing, speed which are all factors. It’s about punching at the right times and punching correctly.
“I notice a big difference and I’m hurting sparring partners. I put my last opponent down six times in my first fight with Paddy.
“So we’re already seeing massive improvements. He has an unbeaten record. He doesn’t know what it’s like to lose and I want him to experience that. Paddy is a hard task master but it’s for my own good and I’m enjoying working under him.
“He’s happy with my progress so things are good.
“I know it will all come together and I’m looking forward to doing a good job on Lewis Taylor.”
“I’m not underestimating him at all. I need to do a good job on him if I’m looking to move on to bigger things.”