Eamonn O’Kane says his loss against John Ryder was ‘the kick up the backside’ he needed as he prepares for his first fight of 2013 against Gary Boulden on Matchroom Sport’s ‘Unfinished Business’ card at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on February 9.
O’Kane met Ryder before Christmas in London and the Islington man came out on top, stopping the Dungiven fighter in the eighth round of their exciting middleweight clash.
The 30 year old Betfair Prizefighter champion is aiming to bounce back in Belfast and says that he will show he’s been working hard on new things in the gym ahead of a big year.
“This fight is definitely very important to get myself back into the rankings and back into the mix to do what I want to do,” said O’Kane. “It is very important to get the win. There are a lot of things I am working on and a lot of things I am hopefully going to put in place; you aren’t going to see a dramatic improvement but you are going to see improvements. It is a work in progress and that is what I want to see in my performance.
“It was disappointing but I believe good things have come out of it. I say it has been a good kick in the backside for me. There were a lot of things in the preparation for that fight and that were my own fault.
“I took the fight at short notice, the fight was confirmed 13 days before the fight and in 13 days I had to lose too much weight. I had been ticking over but I hadn’t been training for a ten-round fight. For what was a title eliminator against a quality opponent like John, it was definitely a kick up the backside. I will learn from that.
“The criticism I got from that fight was the same I had been getting from my other fights so we are trying to correct that and it has definitely been an awakening if you want to call it that.”
O’Kane has since switched trainers from Gerry ‘Nugget’ Nugent to Bernardo Checa on the advice of Nugent, and the Dungiven man is confident his critics will see the difference on February 9.
“I had been getting some criticism on the TV from Prizefighter but we sort of ignored it because the game plan was to go out and work hard and put my opponent under as much pressure as possible so I didn’t really concentrate on the technical side of the boxing,” said O’Kane. “We have listened to the critics and we are trying to answer the questions by improving. I know I can box, I have boxed in the amateurs, in the World Series of Boxing, and at times we have been boxing very well but at times I have been careless so I decided to make a change.
“Obviously I was very disappointed after the Ryder loss and I didn’t know where my head was at. It was recommended that rather than me giving up the sport that I make a change. Bernardo Checa is an excellent coach who has a great CV and he is great guy as well. His brother and the team at the gym are good people to be working with, they are working a lot on the technical side of boxing with me and I have a strength and conditioning coach.
“The change is a bit abnormal at first but I still have a good relationship with the people that I was with at the Immaculata Boxing Club – the coach ‘Nugget’ Nugent and boxers like Martin Lindsay and a couple of others – and I still go back there and do a bit of sparring and it is good to have that.