PAUL ‘Dudey’ McCloskey knows exactly how it feels to be going into a fight boasting an unblemished record.
The former light-welterweight went into his WBA world title clash with Amir Khan in 2011 with a perfect 19-0 record and feeling an air of invincibility.
But that controversial loss at the MEN Arena proved to be the beginning of the end for the Dungiven man who finished his career with defeats to DeMarcus Corley and finally Dave Ryan.
His good friend, Eamonn O’Kane faces a man with just a single draw on his 17 fight ledger and McCloskey believes Lewis Taylor won’t be fazed by what’s expected to be a ferocious atmosphere in Lavey.
“Lewis Taylor is a good fighter I’ve checked him out,” said McCloskey. “He’s a handy boy and when you’re undefeated you think you’re unbeatable basically.
“Home advantage is amazing but it guarantees nothing. But when you’re in there as a fighter and know the crowd is behind you that energy is something else to have. I’ve had it myself many of times. I think it’s going to be a great night.”
O’Kane turned professional two months after McCloskey lost to Khan at the age of 29 on June 2011. And while many believed it was too late for the Banagher man to make an impact in the game, he’s been extremely active and has boxed his way to the top rungs of the middleweight ladder.
And after a brief flirtation with Belfast based, coach Bernardo Checa which followed a lengthy spell at Immaculata ABC, O’Kane has finally found his home in Paddy Fitzpatrick’s gym in Swindon. And ‘Dudey’ believes it was the perfect move for him.
“Eamonn hasn’t been in the game that long professionally and he’s gone up the ladder very quickly. So it’s time for him to push on now and he’s got a home fight which is amazing.
“But from talking to Eamonn and seeing him with Paddy he looks very confident and happy in himself so I’m looking forward to it.
“Eamonn has done a lot as amateur and has now crossed over to the professional side of the game and I think the weekend’s fight can be a really big thing for him.
“I turned pro at 24 years of age and back then people were telling me I left it very late,” added McCloskey. “But Eamonn developed his amateur career and went to the Commonwealth Games where he won a gold medal and at that stage he still had time on the clock and he’s proven that now.
“He’s clean living and doesn’t drink or smoke so he can go on as long as he wants to. We all develop in different ways. Eamonn had ‘Nugget’ Nugent at Immculata and then Checa. He was good but he wasn’t happy and then he went over to Paddy and it’s the best thing he’s ever done.
He’s a handy boy and when you’re undefeated you think you’re unbeatable basically.Paul McCloskey
“He’s feeling the benefits of working alongside Paddy at the minute and there’s boys that would pay a lot of money to spar with George Groves,” he concluded.