Photo – Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
Former WBU Light Heavyweight Champion of the World Tony ‘Oakey Kokey’ Oakey takes to the ring for the final time against British Master Light Heavyweight Champion Michael Banbula, at the Ultrachem TKO Boxing Gym and Bruce Baker co-promoted “Oakey’s Last Stand” event at Mountbatten Leisure Centre in Portsmouth, Hampshire on the 21st May 2010.
During his colourful twelve year professional boxing career the popular 34 year old from Havant, Hampshire, has won virtually all major domestic and International Light Heavyweight championships, including the BBBofC Southern Area; British; Commonwealth and the pinnacle of his career, the WBU World title.
Oakey’s most recent major achievement was his total domination of Barry Hearn’s Matchroom Sports popular Prize Fighter series – The Light Heavyweights. Oakey, one of the tournament’s pre-fight favourites, got to the final with typically thrilling wins over Sheffield’s Bill ‘The People’s Poet’ Boyle in the quarterfinal and then against tournament outright favourite Courtney Fry.
Following Oakey’s magnificent, yet close, all action bouts against Boyle and Fry, the final against Darren Stubbs was a bit of an anticlimax. Right from the start it was clear there would only be one winner Tony ‘Oakey Kokey’ Oakey. Stubbs gave as good as he could but Oakey’s skill and World Championship experience prevailed and after the final bell the judges score cards unanimously showed Oakey the clear victor with identical 30-27 decisions.
Taking a little time out following an exhilarating sparring session with fellow Ultrachem TKO gym mate, unbeaten Light Middleweight Pat McAleese, Oakey spoke a little about his upcoming fight and his highly colourful career. “Yeah, I’ve had a good distinguished career, I’ve achieved everything I set my sights on when I started. I’m not happy it has come to an end but I’m happy it’s come to end by what I’ve achieved. It’s nice to end it with a war. It’s nice to give the fans entertainment and it’s a real good quality battle, I want to go out with a good ‘un, I wouldn’t want to go out on a easy fight that’s for sure.
I’m against Michael Banbula, I watched him fight on the last Portsmouth fight we had last year in June. He boxed a local boy Sam Couzens. It was a good tough fight, he’s a good quality bloke. Banbula’s caused a few upsets. He’s tough, comes forward, he’ll give me the sort of fight fans will want to see.”
‘Oakey Kokey’ then went on to talk a little about his career highlights,”There’s a couple of fights that stand out in my head. First of all I would say Neil Simpson. At the time I was WBU World Champion. I was supposed to fight him before I fought for the World title for the British title and at the last minute Frank Warren offered me more money to fight for the vacant WBU. Neil Simpson accused me of skirting him. But at the end of the day it wasn’t about anything else but money.
At the time all I wanted to be is a World Champion so I took the fight for the vacant WBU title and then made sure that my very first defense was Neil Simpson. Obviously when I beat him he was British Champion as well. It was a good night for me because when I beat him I beat him well.
The other fight that really stands out is when I won the British title. That meant a lot as I beat Steve Spartacus. I would say that was one of the performances of my career because I just stuck to my game plan, done as I was told and made it an easy night’s work. I don’t mean any disrespect to Steve, what I mean is I literally done as I was told and put everything into practice what I did in the gym.”
Not being someone to just talk about the good times, Oakey then went on to talk about his last fight, against Danny McIntosh for the BBBofC English Light Heavyweight title, and the controversy surrounding the second round stoppage decision. “I’m not one for making excuses about things because I shouldn’t have been put down in the first place. The knockdown wasn’t really a knockdown, his pushing me back into the ropes and his sheer weight caused me to go down. I was going to jump right up and take the eight count. I would have had to take the eight count if I got up so decided to stay on one knee. About on count seven someone in the crowd distracted me , I looked back at the ref who still only went eight so I jumped straight up. The ref could see I’m OK but went nine. As I said it wasn’t even a knockdown, everyone could see that, even the commentators on TV said that I misjudged the count. Even in the Boxing News it said that, and they’re the bible of British Boxing.
I wish Danny McIntosh the best for his career and that he goes on and does great things. There’s no sour grapes as far as he is concerned. As I say I retire, not as the happiest man in the world, but happy none the less.”
For the past four years Oakey has shown total dedication to his craft by traveling from his home in Havant, Hampshire to be coached by Johnny Eames five days a week at Eames’ Ultrachem TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town, East London.
‘Oakey Kokey’ explained why and how this came about as well as his reasons to finally call it a day. “A few years back when I was with Ronnie Davis, who used to train Chris Eubank. I trained with him for the majority of my early career and I won everything with him, you know, and I had my ban.
I was coming back from the ban and my first fight back was the fight with Peter Haymer and got robbed terrible. It was really really bad, it was a really disgraceful robbery. So I sat down with Ronnie and we came to a mutual agreement that if I was going to further my career again I needed to come up to London.
I’ve known John since I turned Pro, You know, I think he turned Pro at the same sort of time as me and his way of teaching people really suits me. I rang him and asked him if he would have me up here and he said he would so I came up. That was four years ago. I come up here on a Monday and go back on a Friday, that’s another reason why I had a discussion with John about retiring.
I’m 34, and I’m just about to have my first child with my missus and we had to go three lots of IVF. I felt it’s time for me to start the next chapter of my life and spend a bit of time at home. Over the course of a year I’m up here for eight months of it and only at home for four months of it. I don’t want to miss eight months of the first year with my child really.
Hopefully it will be great entertainment for the fans, forget about the misjudgment of the count last time out. Boxing’s a very cruel sport and you’re always judged on your last fight. So I’m hoping to have an out and out war, win a close points decision and everyone remembers ‘Oakey Kokey’ for what he is – a True Warrior.”
Tony ‘Oakey Kokey’ Oakey versus Michael Banbula for the British Masters Light Heavyweight title headlines the Ultrachem TKO Boxing Gym and Bruce Baker co-promoted “Oakey’s Last Stand” event at Mountbatten Leisure Centre, Portsmouth on the 21st May 2010.
The stacked undercard includes a very interesting Light Heavyweight contest featuring Oakey’s Ultrachem TKO gym mate, and former two-time opponent, Peter ‘The Daddy’ Haymer against the dangerous Portsmouth southpaw Paul Morby.
Another of Oakey’s Ultrachem TKO Gym mates, Redhill, Surrey’s Daryl Setterfield has his work cut out when he faces unbeaten, in six outings, Wayne Goddard from Borden, Hampshire. Whilst at Super Middleweight, another Ultrachem TKO based fighter, Newmarket, Suffolk’s Matt Jack has an equally tough opponent when he faces New Milton, Hampshire’s Danny ‘Dangerous’ Goode.
Also at Super Middleweight Ultrachem TKO’s Tariq Quaddas will be facing Titchfield, Hampshire’s Sam Couzens. Another of the Couzens clan, Sam’s brother Danny is also on the card but his opponent has yet to be announced.
Finally Ultrachem TKO will be debuting one of their upcoming young stars, George Jupp who will be going up against another first timer Peter Barney in a Featherweight contest.
‘Oakey’s Last Stand’ will be on the 21st May 2010 at the Mountbatten Leisure Centre, Alexandra Park, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO2 9QA.
Tickets are available from:
Mountbatten Leisure Centre, Alexandra Park, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO2 9QA. – Tel: 023 9362 6500
Ultrachem TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA – Tel: 020 7474 3199