A NEW-LOOK Eamonn O’Kane lifted the vacant Irish title in the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk as he answered his critics with a well deserved victory over Irish Prizefighter foe, Anthony Fitzgerald on Friday night.
O’Kane had seen off Fitzgerald 97-94 on the referee’s scorecard after a thrilling and very entertaining 10 rounds of boxing to take his first professional title and extend his record to 10-01-0 despite taking a point deduction in the eighth round for a low blow.
Fitzgerald had come out all guns blazing but O’Kane, got him under control and boxed his way to a convincing victory.
O’Kane - now under the guidance of coach Bernardo Checa - likes to brawl but he showed a more thoughtful, patient approach to his work on Friday night, which will stand him in good stead when he moves on to bigger and better things.
The Dungiven middleweight was delighted with the victory - but as he took off his gloves in the packed dressing room he remembered old friends at his former gym, Immaculata.
“I would just like to say thank you to all the Immaculata team because they were fantastic. “Nugget Nugent’s going through a hard time, his wife died Marie recently, and I’ll dedicate that win to Marie.
“Nugget Nugent and the Immaculta team, Alfredo Meli, all the guys there are brilliant and I’m grateful for all the things they done for me,” he added.
And O’Kane who has now beaten Fitzgerald on two occasions says he has finally ended Fitzgerald’s claims that he had won the fight when they met in Prizefighter. “I’m learning and I’m just delighted because it’s just the monkey off your back, if you want to call it that.
“Everybody was whispering and all that there, but that’s it settled now, I boxed him from start to finish and won the fight clearly.
“I’ve won big medals as an amateur so to prove that I can box, it was just a matter of getting re-trained. I can move onwards and fight better boys. Maybe I’ll get a chance at John Ryder,” he concluded.