Banagher boxer Eamonn O’Kane is on a massive high after roaring to victory in the all-Irish Betfair Prizefighter Middleweights at the King’s Hall in Belfast on Saturday.
The Commonwealth Games gold medalist defeated JJ McDonagh in the final, and on Sunday night the people of Dungiven turned out in their droves at the town’s GAA club to make sure ‘King Kane’ knew how proud they were of him.
“I’m delighted,” a fresh faced O’Kane told the ‘Journal’, surrounded by his two sons, Charlie and Oscar, “but Saturday was a night of mixed emotions because I’m a big fan of Paul McCloskey.”
Modest as ever, O’Kane said he was disappointed for Dudey, who suffered a devastating stoppage against veteran American, DeMarcus Corley.
“I was on a high that I’d won the Prizefighter, because it can be a risky business and anything can happen, but it came through well and I got exactly what I wanted. It puts me nearer fighting for title contention and that’s where I deserve to be. As I say I’m a big Paul McCloskey fan. What happened was just unfortunate.”
O’Kane paid homage to the massive support for Dudey which got behind him.
“The support he gets is unreal and they were all behind me on Saturday night and, when you hear the noise it really gets you gee’d up, and I can’t say enough about the people of the North West. I can’t thank them enough.”
O’Kane, in tip-top shape, credits a “fantastic” boxing team behind him - including a physiotherapist, chiropractor, and acupuncturist - making sure he is the best possible condition. And of course, there is the forever support from his wife, Nicola, who also helps him say ‘no’ to his sweet tooth when she can.
Relaxing at home yesterday, O’Kane was greeted by hundreds of supporters in Dungiven on Sunday night, all delighted at his success.
“I couldn’t believe so many people came out like that. I mean 8pm is a time when people are getting kids settled to bed, so it means a lot. It’s very humbling.”
(See Sport on pages 58 & 59 for full coverage on Dudey and O’Kane)