Middleweight turned midwife Eammon O’Kane admits entering the ring at some of the worlds most famous venues pales in comparison to the pressure he felt when helping to deliver his fourth child over the weekend.
‘King Kane’, his wife and three sons welcomed a new princess, daughter and sister, Grace into the world, but not in the manner they expected.
The healthy baby girl, who weight 9lbs5oz, came suddenly and earlier than expected when Nicola Kane went into labour at home. With the ambulance delayed the Commonwealth Games medal winner and former Irish champion was left to help with the delivery as he was talked through the birth by the emergency medical dispatcher.
The 24 minute, or eight round ordeal, ended happily for all the family, but O’Kane admits he was it was a nerve wrecking experience.
“I’m delighted,” he told the Derry Journal . “We didn’t know if it was a girl or a boy, we thought we would leave the last one as a surprise. I’ve three boys and we just thought this would definitely be the last.
“She’s been my toughest opponent yet without a doubt – my biggest challenge!” he laughed, “You might think you’re nervous for a fight but that supersedes anything.
“The boxing ring was my hobby, it was my enjoyment, my life and my job. But delivering my daughter was not my job,” he added.
“I’m a typical man when it comes to those situations. I never thought I would ever have to do anything like that.”
Asked if he was panicking he responded: “You try to be as comforting and as reassuring as possible. Was I sh**ting myself inside? Of course I was.
“I was trying to give Nicola direction, I was trying to give the ambulance driver directions as well while all the time relaying information back to the operator. And of course I’m worrying about our baby.”
With three boys already in the family, O’Kane, 38, couldn’t hide his delight at the arrival of a girl.
“If it had been a boy I would’ve been delighted too but I always said I wanted a daddy’s girl as I’ve three mammy’s boys at the house. Our wee girl is beautiful.
“I was at the birth of my three boys. The first one I was in tears watching her giving birth to him.”
O’Kane is no stranger to coming through pain to celebrate victory and the manner of his in ring success means he is no stranger to praise and spotlight.
In this case he believes his wife deserves all the praise.
“She had no pain relief, nothing. So fair play to her never mind anybody else. I’ve been painted as some sort of unsung hero by all the family here but she’s the one who went through it.”
However, wife Nicola was proud of her husbands performance and welcomed the accolades that have come his way.
“I’ll let Eamonn take the credit because in fairness he had to go on autopilot,” she said. “I wasn’t really worried whereas he had the worry of being on his own and having the pressure of delivering the baby.
“For me it was just happening and I couldn’t do anything about it. I just had to go with it and that’s it. She was born inside 24 minutes. We’re all keeping good.”