O’Kane installed as favourite for Prizefighter crown

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PAUL McCloskey and the cast of the Irish middleweight Prizefighter will descend on the Giant’s Causeway on Tuesday morning to record Sky Sports’ promotional film for next month’s King’s Hall showpiece.

‘Dudey’s headline clash with former world titlist, DeMarcus Corely has taken on added significance for the Dungiven man after WBO interim champion, Juan Manuel Marquez’s sounded him out as his next possible opponent on July 14th at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Texas.

Firstly, however, the southpaw will put his acting skills to the test on Tuesday along with Banagher middleweight, Eamonn O’Kane as they take time out from their hectic training schedules to fulfil their promotional obligations.

All local fight fans are invited to attend with the boxers expected to arrive at the Giant’s Causeway between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, following the withdrawal of the highly rated middleweight, Mark Heffron this week, O’Kane has been installed as hot favourite to claim the Irish Prizefighter crown and the £32,000 prizemoney.

The 2010 Commonwealth gold medalist’s fast and furious style is perfectly suited to the Prizefighter format and he feels he will be the man to defeat in the mouthwatering showdown.

O’Kane extended his perfect start to his professional career with an impressive six round points win over Sheffield southpaw, Wayne Reed in front of almost 10,000 people at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena last month as the curtainraiser on the undercard of Kell Brook’s victory over Matthew Hatton.

And the Co. Derry man thinks that experience will give him the edge in the King’s Hall, in what’s expected to be a huge night of boxing at the Belfast venue.

“All of my boxing career, both as an amateur and a professional, everything I’ve learned, especially from that night in Sheffield, will help me in Prizefighter,” said O’Kane.

“When I won gold I knew it was live on TV and the stadium was full – all those experiences are going to help me to do well on May 5th.

“There’s going to be hundreds of thousands of people watching it on Sky and internationally, and the King’s Hall will be packed out with people screaming and shouting for different guys. It’s going to be amazing on the night. Hopefully most of them will be screaming for me, but it will be a great night either way.”

O’Kane is joined in the 24th edition of Matchroom Sport’s eight-man, one night tournament by Anthony Fitzgerald, Joe Rea, JJ McDonagh, Simon O’Donnell, Ryan Greene and Darren Cruise, with the final name to be added in the next 24 hours after Heffron pulled out with a hand injury.

Before the action gets underway there are two fights with exciting young flyweight Jamie Conlan becomes the latest Prizefighter Prospect and the ever-popular former British featherweight champion Martin Lindsay continues his journey back to title contention.

The Betfair Prizefighter all-Irish Middleweights is followed by a huge fight in the career of Paul McCloskey as he takes on former World champion ‘Chop Chop’ DeMarcus Corley in a bid to get back into World title contention.

Tickets are priced at £30 (unreserved), £40 (reserved balcony or unreserved floor), £60 (outer-ringside) and £100 (ringside) are available from Ticketmaster on 0844 277 4455 – UK/Northern Ireland customers, 0818 719 300 – Republic of Ireland customers and at ticket master

VIP packages priced £150 are available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900 and at matchroom boxing

Paul McCloskey’s fans can also buy their tickets at the prices above from Eurospar Dungiven and any EuroXchange outlet.