BOXING: Eamonn O'Kane hangs up his gloves

Banagher boxing champ Eamonn O'Kane has announced his retirement from the sport at the age of 34.
Eamonn O'Kane hangs up his gloves.Eamonn O'Kane hangs up his gloves.
Eamonn O'Kane hangs up his gloves.

O’Kane said his decision to hang up his gloves hasn’t come easy but, after listening to his family and his body, the middleweight champion said it’s the right decision.

The Co. Derry boxer, known in the ring as ‘King Kane’, won Gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, bronze in the Europeans, fought and was undefeated in the WSB, “boxing some of the best our great fighting nation had to offer”

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In a statement to the ‘Journal’ on Sunday, O’Kane said: “It has been a very hard decision to make, and one I have fought with as hard as any competitor, but one that ultimately I feel is the best one to make for not just me but my beautiful wife who has always supported me, and the rest of my family.

“As a professional, in a somewhat short period of time and without the backing of a promoter, I have been Irish Champion, Prizefighter champion, WBC International champion, two-time IBF intercontinental champion and fought at the most famous arena in the world in a final eliminator for the IBF World title.

“Although I didn’t win my last fight at ‘ The Garden’ I left everything I had there that night and, going by the feedback, I received on the night and since, didn’t disappoint the boxing fans which it has always been my desire to please.”

O’Kane said he picked up an injury to his neck after the New York fight. He said he had planned his “swan song”, an agreement in principal to fight “fellow countryman and a fighter I have immense respect for in Spike O Sullivan, this September in Belfast”.

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“Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go the way I have wanted it, and I’m guessing anyone reading this will agree with it’s the same for them,” said O’Kane.

Paying tribute to his wife Nicola, and sons Charlie and Oscar, he said: “I have spent long periods of time away from them and, now with another child on the way, it’s the right time to acknowledge my blessings and be here with all of them.

“I want to thank everyone that has ever supported and guided me, from my first Amateur coaches the whole way through.”

O’Kane paid tribute to fellow boxer, Dungiven champ Paul ‘Dudey’ McCloskey who he hailed as “inspirational”.

See full story in Tuesday’s Journal.