Taylor takes on O’Kane in the Northern-Irishman’s backyard at Derry’s Lavey Centre. And, with the IBF Inter-Continental middleweight title on the line, manager Dennis Hobson says the opportunity was too good to turn down.
“It’s a massive chance that has come along out of the blue really,” explained Dennis. “I know he’s fighting away from home but it’s a calculated gamble. I’ve seen chinks in Eamonn’s armour that I’m sure Lewis can exploit; he’s beatable. I’d rather it had been on home soil but it’s an opportunity to leapfrog other contenders. Lewis is in line for an English title shot but if he wins this then he gets himself in the top ten in the world. It’s a winnable fight and a no-brainer.”
Unbeaten Taylor, with just a single draw on his 17-fight ledger, won’t be fazed by crossing the Irish Sea to fight in the lion’s den. O’Kane has won 13 from 15 outings and, with the crowd behind him, will start the favourite. Hobson though is convinced that level-headed Lewis will cause an upset.
“Lewis is a class act. He’s got a great brain and even though some people don’t think he’s a puncher, I don’t agree. When he fought Jonson McClumpha he had some spite about him, and he’ll be in the same frame of mind against O’Kane.
“I think they’re underestimating Lewis. They believe Eamonn will walk through him, but that won’t be the case. I like Eamonn, and his team are nice people to work with, he’s capable and exciting but he’s not difficult to hit. I like to have my fighters on home soil but I think Lewis can beat this kid. It’s a good 50-50 fight and another chance for a fighter from the Sheffield area to get into the elite.”