Eamonn O’Kane faces Titanic battle in Belfast

Eamonn O'Kane believes a win against Virgilijus Stapulionis at Belfast's Titanic Quarter tomorrow night will elevate him into a position to challenge for the IBF world title.
Eamonn O'Kane believes a win against Virgilijus Stapulionis at Belfast's Titanic Quarter tomorrow night will elevate him into a position to challenge for the IBF world title.

Eamonn O’Kane is planning on making the most of the global exposure he’ll receive in tomorrow night’s ‘Titanic Showdown’ in Belfast and claim a win which would put himself in the frame for a shot at the IBF world title.

The Banagher middleweight takes on Virgilijus Stapulionis for the IBF Inter-continental title on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s world title fight against Kiko Martinez.

It’s the biggest night of his Pro. career so far as he takes to the ring in front of a capacity 16,000 attendance at the purpose built arena in Belfast’s historic Titanic Quarter, not to mention that the show will be broadcast to millions of boxing fans as far reaching as China, the USA and Brazil.

It’s the perfect platform for O’Kane to put himself in line for a world title tilt of his own and he’s determined to put on his best performance yet to edge closer to a meeting with IBF champion Sam Solomon.

“I’m looking forward to it and it should be a great night of boxing,” said O’Kane last night. “You want as much exposure as possible and that’s how you get yourself in the shop window for a world title.

“It’s great that Carl Frampton is fighting for a world title and I’m lucky enough to be involved in the night. That’s what I started boxing for and I want that world title.

“I think I’m knocking at the door now and I’m in against a quality boxer and if I win this fight I’m in with a good shout of securing a world title shot.

“I want a world title shot and I want to win it,” he said with a steely determination. “Sam Solomon is the IBF champion so I definitely would love a crack at him and I’ll definitely call him out after this fight.

“I’ll do whatever I have to do to make that fight happen. It would be great to get a shot at him. He’s world champion and a quality boxer but I think I have a lot of good attributes that would cause him a lot of problems.”

A win for O’Kane tomorrow night will no doubt elevate him up the coveted IBF rankings and into a position to challenge for the World title.

Australian, Soliman defends his World title against former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor on October 4th and with a convincing win over Stapulionis, O’Kane can expect to move into a position to challenge the winner in the not too distant future.

O’Kane won the WBC’s Silver International Silver middleweight title with a first round stoppage of Alvaro Gaona in his last outing and he’s hoping he can replicate that performance against the big punching Lithuanian tomorrow night.

“I would take a repeat of that performance right now,” he laughed. “It was a great win and a great punch which I timed very well so it’s just a matter of timing my punches well (against Stapulionis) and not getting caught in the same process myself.”

Given the all-action style of both boxers, the fight is set up for a blockbuster of a contest and O’Kane is wary of his opponent’s punch power.

“I’m sure he’s the sort of guy who will try and catch me too so it could be a matter who lands that punch first,” added O’Kane.

“I intend to nullify what he’s good at. I’ve been working at my left hook for when I’m coming away from his right hand. I’ll try and make him miss and nullify that right hand of his and coming back with a good left hook.

“That’s the plan and I might have to change it on the night but I’m flexible. With my good amateur background I’ve boxed lots of different styles of opponents and I’ve had numerous sparring partners who have had different styles. But my initial plan is to nullify his right hand and land mine.”

Trash Talking

Stapulionis this week goaded O’Kane, claiming the Banagher man is merely a ‘prospect’ and insisting he was here to dethrone the man known as ‘King Kane’

“I have beaten prospects before and I am here to win once again,” he said. “I want that IBF Intercontinental title to take home to Lithuania! He may be ‘King Kane’ but I’m the prince here to dethrone him!”

However, O’Kane refused to get into a trash-talking headline battle ahead of the biggest fight of his professional career.

“Well, good luck to him,” countered O’Kane. “I’ll do my talking in the ring and I’m sure we’ll get stuck right into each other on the night and I’m looking forward to it.”

The prospect of fighting in front of such a huge audience would intimidate even the most experienced professional, however, O’Kane is coolness personified ahead of his most important 12 rounder to date as he attempts to take his pro. record to 13-01-0.

“Yes it will be great and I hope Carl Frampton gets the job done,” he said of the main event. “It will be a great night - but I am trying not to get too excited - it’s just another day at the office.”