Eamonn O’Kane has joined Bernardo Checa’s stable of professional boxers.
O’Kane - a Commonwealth Games gold medal winner - has moved to Checa after losing in a British title eliminator against John Ryder at the start of December.
And O’Kane - who will fight on the undercard of the Carl Frampton versus Kiko Martinez European title fight at the Odyssey on February 9 - says the move was suggested by former trainer Gerry “Nugget” Nugent.
“I was very disappointed and down after losing to Ryder and ‘Nugget’ suggested I should maybe try another trainer.
“He said ‘a change is as good as a rest,’ and maybe I needed a fresh approach.
“But I am still on great terms with all the boys from the Immaculata club and I will never be able to express what they have done for me. And I could never thank them enough for all they have done for me over the years.
“I still have a great relationship with them all and I am actually going there to spar tonight,” he added.
And O’Kane says he hopes the move to Checa will pay-off in the coming months.
“I have been working with him for a few weeks now and it is going well. I am out at the Odyssey on February 9, but it it will take a wee while longer for his coaching to come to the fore.
“Bernardo is a very technical coach and I have enjoyed working with him.
“It is also great that Paul McCloskey also trains with Bernardo. I spent 14 to 15 years with Paul at an amateur boxing club in Dungiven, so it is great to travel up and down with him to training.
“It was difficult leaving ‘Nugget’ and the Immaculata but hopefully the move will pay-off,” he added.
And O’Kane admitted that he was to blame for accepting the fight against Ryder in December.
“I took the fight at 13 days notice and I have to admit ‘Nugget’ told me not to take the fight at such short notice.
“I had three quarters of a stone to lose in those 13 days and I was not at my best on the night. But I am not going to make excuses for the defeat.
“All I will say that the loss has given me massive motivation to come back and prove that I am better than the performance I put in against Ryder,” he added.
Also on the Odyssey bill, Martin Lindsay will fight Lee Selby for the British title, Jamie Conlan will attempt to get his hands on the Commonwealth Super-Flyweight title, Andy Lee faces Anthony Fitzgerald, Daniel ‘Insane’ McShane will appear, as will James Fryers.
Tickets for the Odyssey show can be purchased at website www.odysseyarena.com