EAMONN O’Kane enlisted the support of WBC world super-middleweight challenger, George Groves in the build-up to his IBF Inter-Continental clash tomorrow night and the Londoner has promised to be at ringside to see his stablemate edge closer to a world title shot of his own.
Undoubtedly the best of the seven sparring partners O’Kane has utilised in preparation for his fight against Lewis Taylor, Groves and the Banagher man have history which dates back to their amateur days.
In fact O’Kane inflicted a rare, albeit narrow loss, on Groves’ impressive amateur record before the Londoner turned pro. So was there a bit of niggle in their latest sparring sessions?
“George had actually got me over to spar before he was supposed to fight Kenny Anderson,” explained O’Kane. “I was really impressed by how down to earth he was and how professional he was.
“He trained hard and was very respectful because we fought and sparred before. There was a toss of a coin between us when we fought - I think the score was 47-46 .
“He’s improved a hell of a lot since then but it’s good to still be mixing it with him.
“I’m still learning off him and he’s learning off me so I think we compliment each other well.”
Of course Groves, who is also trained by O’Kane’s coach, Paddy Fitzpatrick, has promised to be at ringside for tomorrow night’s fight in Lavey Community Centre.
And he took to his Facebook page earlier this week to send his support to the Co. Derry middleweight.
Swindon based boxing coach, Fitzpatrick is delighted with the relationship both his fighters have at present, claiming it’s been beneficial for both parties.
“It’s great to have George and Eamonn working together,” said Fitzpatrick. “Obviously they have their rivalry from the amateurs.
“George has turned into a bit giant of a man since then. They really help each other out in the sparring. Eamonn has had seven different sparring partners for this fight which is good.
The more variation you have in front of you the more willing you are to adjust and fight.”
I was really impressed by how down to earth he was and how professional he was. He trained hard and was very respectful because we fought and sparred before.Eamonn O’Kane