Eamonn O’Kane last night put on an immensely brave performance on the undercard of the mega Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux middleweight title unification. A rank outsider, O’Kane recovered from two first round knockdowns to push Bahamanian Tureano Johnson all the way on the Madison Square Garden show.
The pair were fighting in an IBF title eliminator, and O’Kane’s gutsy performance will have impressed many watching on the HBO PPV broadcast at the Mecca of boxing.
It was a disastrous start for the Derry man who found himself on the deck twice in the opening three minutes from big hooks by Johnson.
O’Kane would recover and survive to the bell but it looked like it could be an early night for the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist. To his credit, the Irishman came out fighting and proceeded to stay in Johnson’s face, constantly swarming and throwing.
The Caribbean boxer however was a level above and was landing multiple heavy shots. Nevertheless, O’Kane never took a backwards step and absorbed all the punishment Johnson threw at him, as well as landing a few big shots of his own and sneaking a round or two in the process.
Incredibly, considering the opening round, the fight went the distance, and O’Kane was given a great reception for his warrior-like performance.
Indeed, over the course of the twelve rounds, O’Kane absorbed a whopping 396 power punches – a CompuBox record for the middleweight division.
There was no doubt though when the scorecards were read out who the winner would be and Johnson was awarded the fight by all three judges by a wide margin – 118-108, 117-109, 119-107.
O’Kane drops to 14(5)-2(1)-1 with the defeat, although many will want to see him again after the ballsy loss. Tureano Johnson improves to 19(14)-1(1) and the Golden Boy fighter will now be hoping to enforce his mandatory position for a shot at Gennady Golovkin’s middleweight crown.