Belfast Telegraph

McCloskey tips O’Kane to make it a special Dungiven double

By David Kelly

Eamonn O’Kane is being backed by his friend Paul McCloskey to make it a Dungiven double on Saturday night at the King’s Hall.

Middleweight O’Kane is the favourite to land the first all-Irish Prizefighter event which is the supporting act to McCloskey’s showdown with former World champion American Demarcus Corley.

Yesterday, McCloskey made the draw along with Commonwealth super-bantamweight champion Carl Frampton and the former European champion certainly gave his friend a tasty opener against Anthony Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald has been making a lot of noise leading up to Saturday night and he will fancy his chances of an upset against the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

But McCloskey said: “I think the Prizefighter is going to be a great event and I believe Eamonn will do it.

“He’s got a tough fight right away but if he sticks to his boxing he can do it.

“It would be great if Dungiven had two winners on Saturday night and I don’t see why not.”

O’Kane has made a promising start to his career with four straight victories and while some would find it strange that he should be risking his unbeaten record in what can be a three-round lottery, O’Kane is relishing the opportunity of landing the £32,000 in front of his home fans.

“I have always loved Prizefighter and when I was offered the chance to enter it I jumped at it,” said O’Kane.

“I have come into the pro game at a late stage so I need to be pushing on and this gives me a great chance to get into title con

tention. I want to be fighting for a British or Commonwealth title as soon as possible and winning Prizefighter would be a big step forward.

“Being in the first quarter final looks like an advantage on paper as you get the longest time to recover — but that’s no use if you get knocked out first.

“It’s going to be a tough fight with Anthony at the start so the focus is all on him now.”

O’Kane recently sparred with George Groves, whom he defeated in the Commonwealth Championships final in 2007.

“It was great working with George, he’s a hard puncher and a good boxer and we had some very good work-outs,” added O’Kane.

“I feel that I’m developing well as a pro and of course there’s a lot more to come.

“The Prizefighter will suit my style, I like to have a fight and there’s only one way to fight in Prizefighter and that’s to have a go.

“I think it’s going to be a very special night with Paul top of the bill and Martin Lindsay on the show as well.

“The atmosphere is going to be amazing without a doubt and I hope I come out on top.”

The second quarter-final will see Belfast man Ciaran Healy take on Lurgan’s hard hitting Ryan Greene for the right to meet either O’Kane or Fitzgerald in the first semi-final.

The bottom half of the draw sees Darren Cruise face JJ McDonagh in quarter-final three and the victor will face either Simon O’Donnell or Ballymena’s Joe Rea, who box in quarter final four.

Former British featherweight champion Lindsay will kick off the night against Mickey Coveney.

Quarter-final draw (and fight prices from sponsor Betfair):

QF1: Eamonn O’Kane 4/6 v Anthony Fitzgerald 11/10

QF2: Ciaran Healy 6/4 v Ryan Greene 1/2

QF3: Darren Cruise 6/4 v JJ McDonagh 1/2

QF4: Simon O’Donnell evens v Joe Rea 4/5

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