EAMONN O’Kane’s representatives are currently locked in talks with former Olympian, Tureano Johnson, as the IBF seek to finalise a world title eliminator between the big punching middleweight pair over the coming days.
And while O’Kane insists he prefers to take a ‘back seat’ when it comes down to the nitty gritty of negotiations over purse bids, venues and dates for the fight, he claims he’s prepared to do whatever’s necessary as he hones in a dream world title shot.
It’s understood the date for the IBF eliminator must take place between August 29th next and mid-September to allow for the winner to face current IBF champion, David Lemieux before Christmas.
O’Kane would obviously prefer to take the fight on home soil but admits that he’s willing to travel to America for the biggest fight of his career if required.
O’Kane is being represented in the negotiations by top UK based boxing lawyer, Neil Sibley who has worked closely with his Fitzpatrick Gym stablemate, George Groves in the past.
And with his father, Lawrence and Dungiven businessman, Francie McNicholl also heavily involved in talks with Johnson’s representatives, O’Kane is happy to keep his focus in the gym.
“I keep my head down and don’t get involved in negotiations,” said O’Kane. “I’m leaving it to Paddy (Fitzpatrick), my dad, Francie McNicholl and my lawyer, Neil Sibley.
“I’m glad I’ve got good people looking after me on that front,” he added. “We want the fight to be here in Ireland. Obviously it comes down to who has the most money. There’s stuff that has to make sense but I would love for it to be here.
“I know I’m definitely going to be fighting because I got the letter to fight Johnson for the mandatory position for the IBF world title. So that’s the state of play at the minute.”
Johnson (31), who hails from the Bahamas, last fought on January 9th when he stopped Alex Theran in five rounds in Madison Square Garden, New York and the 2008 Olympian has high rankings in all four major sanctioning bodies.
I’ll do whatever I have to do. That’s the reality of it. If it means going to America, going to New York - that would be fantastic. Look how John Duddy lit up the place over there.Eamonn O’Kane
O’Kane claims he would be willing to take the fight Stateside, should he have to.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do,” he continued. “That’s the reality of it. If it means going to America, going to New York - that would be fantastic. Look how John Duddy lit up the place over there.
“It’s like a home away from home for an Irish fighter over there. It would be good to showcase myself in front of an American audience. I’ll go where I have to go.”
Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs), has 13 knockout wins to his name and likes to fight at a fast pace. So a thrilling, all action contest with so much at stake for both fighters is on the cards, wherever it is to take place.
O’Kane is now possibly 12 rounds away from a world title tilt against the Canadian champion, Lemieux, and he’s making sure he’s in the best possible condition when the deal is finalised.
“It’s the biggest fight of my life,” added O’Kane. “Everything happens for a reason and at the right time and everything’s happening at the right time for me now.
“It’s all about me getting into the best nick possible and capitalising on this opportunity. The goal is to become world champion. I’m one fight away now from a world title shot and I intend to do everything in my power with regards preparation. I’ll make sure I’ll be in the best nick possible to perform as best as I can.
“We’ve analysed past performances and we’re going to be bang on the money come fight time.
“You would expect it to be my toughest yet as it’s my biggest fight. He’s a tough guy. He’s been mixing it very well and delivering good performances. Oliver Cummings is getting me in the best condition. He’s pushed me in terms of beating PBs and it’s good that we are where we are at the right time.
“I’m looking forward to beating him. We’ve analysed him and I’m confident I can do a good job.
“I want to get the fight over the line before I say too much else.
It’s a pressurised situation. It’s exciting, nerve wrecking all in the one. My focus is in my job which is getting myself into the best nick possible. It’s exciting for me and I plan on doing a good job. It’s the biggest fight of my life!”