EAMONN O’KANE is confident he can secure his place on the undercard of what’s expected to be one of the biggest nights of boxing Belfast has seen in quite some time.
Carl Frampton will challenge Kiko Martinez for the IBF world super-bantamweight crown on September 6th and O’Kane is hoping to be chief supporting act to the mouthwatering main event which is certain to capture the public’s imagination.
The 32 year-old Banagher middleweight (12-1-0) is a man who thrives on the big occasion and, although he has yet to be officially named on the bill, he is relishing the prospect of fighting on such a high profile, televised card which guarantees maximum exposure.
“I’ll hopefully be chief supporting act to Frampton in September,” said O’Kane. “I’m at the top, elite level now and I’ll keep myself for that September 6th show.
“There’s been talk of me fighting a ranking fight on the bill,” he confirmed. “I’m assuming that’s because Kiko Martinez’s IBF title is on the line that I’ll also be defending my IBF title.
“And that will open the door for a world title eliminator. There’s nothing concrete as yet. There’s a show in the Waterfoot coming up but I’m above that level. I don’t like to sound arrogant but that’s the reality of it.”
The venue is yet to be determined but CEO of Cyclone Promotions, Barry McGuigan expects in the region of 20,000 fight fans at an outdoor arena for the world title showdown.
The Balmoral Showgrounds in South Belfast is one venue which has been mentioned and the thought of defending his IBF Intercontinental title on such a huge stage - the fight also to be screened on BoxNation - is something O’Kane has only dreamed of.
“Carl Frampton is talking about making the fight in front of 20,000 which is the stuff you dream about when you’re growing up,” he said.
“That’s exactly where I want to be, fighting on the big stage.
“When you look at the Carl Froch and George Groves fight at Wembley last week it was fantastic. Before Carl Froch I was the last man to beat Groves.
“And whenever you’ve been in with boys like Groves and James De Gale, who are the verge of becoming world champions, you wonder why have I not achieved that yet?
“I want to be fighting on the big stage. We have the best support. You look at the way the crowd gets behind Paul McCloskey we have the best support in the world so I want to do a professional job.
“I’m 32 and people are talking about me being in the tail end of my career. I’m in the best shape of my life and as far as I’m concerned it’s all coming together at the right time for me.
“It’ll be a dream come true. You look at Kell Brook who’s now fighting for a world title. He defended the IBF Intercontinental title - the same title as I have. But he seems to be on a bigger stage than me.
“That’s the reality of where I’m at. I’m ranked No. 10 with the IBF in the world. I’m well ranked with the WBC. So I really am in the position to push on.
“I aim to become world champion, it’ll be a dream come true.”
O’Kane who starred in the undercard of Frampton’s sold-out Odyssey show last April with a sensational first round stoppage of Mexican, Alvaro Gaona to claim the WBC International Silver title has been supporting the Belfast man on a number of occasions now.
And with just 13 weeks to Frampton’s second meeting with big punching Spaniard, Martinez, O’Kane is already planning on shedding the excess weight and slowly churning through the sparring sessions in preparation for what will be the biggest night of his pro. career.
“It’s been about trial and error for me so far. I seem to perform better if I keep busy. I normally have four or five days off after a fight and then I’m back at it.
“There’s 13 weeks on Saturday (tomorrow) until the fight so I’ll be working on getting my weight down early which didn’t happen for the Kerry Hope fight. My last fight I got the weight down early and had over 130 sparring sessions so I was well ready for that fight.
“Now I’ve got a date I can focus on and I’ll be fully prepared for it. There’ll be no excuses, I’ll make sure I’m the best I can be,” he concluded.