EAMONN O’KANE has made the world famous Big Bear gym on the outskirts of Los Angeles his home for the past four weeks as he prepares himself for his world title eliminator in New York on October 17th.
Rubbing shoulders with WBA world middleweight champion, Gennady Golovkin and WBC world super middleweight challenger, George Groves, the Banagher man is thoroughly enjoying his experience in the remote training camp located in the hills two hours north of LA.
The 33 years-old Co. Derry man’s title eliminator with Tuerano Johnson was rubber stamped this week and the pair will meet on the undercard of Golovkin’s unification fight against IBF champion David Lemieux at Madison Square Garden.
The Golden Boy Promotion will be a huge pay-per-view event in the United States and the winner of O’Kane’s fight will become mandatory challenger to the winner of the Golovkin v Lemieux fight for both the WBA and IBF straps.
A golden opportunity for O’Kane (14-1-1, 5 KOs) and he’s hoping to make what was once the home of Galliagh man John Duddy, his own in just over nine weeks time.
“I heard all the hype about John Duddy at Madison Square Garden and it’s like the mecca of boxing,” said O’Kane.
“There’s no bigger stage than Madison Square Garden. It’s exciting but I’m trying not to let that distract me. I’m focussed on what I’m good at.
“I can sit back in years to come and look back at where I fought. For now I have to focus on getting myself ready.
And everything is going really well. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m over here in Big Bear gym just outside LA, up in the sticks, and it’s a great experience. I’m here with George Groves who is getting ready for his world title so it really is the home of champions. The heat and the high altitude. There’s no distractions.
“It’s the biggest fight of my life,” he continued. “We’re making sure everything’s right as far as training, weight and my conditioning is concerned, so we’re ahead of the game.”
It will be O’Kane’s first pro. fight out of the UK and Ireland and while his amatuer career took him around the world, he admits he’s found it difficult being away from his wife Nicola and his two sons.
“The hardest part for me is being away from my wife and two boys,” he said.
“This is probably the toughest. But life will be better for us all if I was to win the world title so I can give them a good future.”
2008 Olympian Johnson (18-1, 13Kos) from the Bahamas stands in his way of a world title shot and although he comes with a big reputation O’Kane believes he has the tools to expose him.
“I don’t fear him one bit,” said O’Kane. “Yes he’s got a good record but he’s been exposed as well. I’ll be in great shape and I’m looking forward to putting it altogether and giving Tuereano Johnson a few surprises.”