Certainly not the war hungry Tyrone McKenna’s most entertaining performance, but possibly his best to date.
McKenna finally ditched his war at all costs approach to all but ease his way through to the semi finals of the Golden Contract.
Opponent Mikey Sakyi chose the Belfast fighter during Tuesdays draw, intimating McKenna’s tendency to go to war was the catalyst behind the decision.
The Londoner suggested he wanted his first fight on TV to be entertaining, but he may really have been hoping a close quarters fight would give him the chance to make the most of his power.
However, it was closer to majestic than manic from McKenna over the 10 rounds and for the first time in a big fight he put winning before entertaining.
McKenna, showed just why those who see him in close quarters get frustrated post fights that delight fans. The southpaw showed real ring intelligence and seemed to value guts more than guile as he boxed his way to victory.
In fairness to Sayki, who was outclassed overall, he did land a big body shot in the second – and that could have been the punch that ensured his opponent stuck to the smarter game plan.
A game plan that saw him register a 100-90, 100-90, 99-91 win.
The first round was a close feeling out affair, which was possibly nicked by ‘The Mighty Celt’.
The war both promised threatened to break out in the second when Sakyi hurt McKenna with a left to the body and the Belfast man responded by busting the English fighters nose.
McKenna then found his range and for once used began physical attributes and boxing skill to establish dominance.
The rangy southpaw found and maintained a distance that suited over the next few rounds.
He was busy and forced the issue, but stayed out of the pocket, a tactic that allowed him dominate.
The WBC International title holder looked comfortable and it wasn’t long before Sayki was regretting the choice he made in the draw.
By the sixth the Romford 29-year-old started to look he was there for the taken as McKenna landed with a variety of shots all thrown from a distance that didn’t allow him to counter. The left hand started to find a home and a southpaw jab that was effective all night was proving catalyst for some strong back hands.
Sayki tried to rally early in the seventh, but by the end of the round it looked like McKenna could be a gear change away from securing a stoppage.
However, it was the English fighter, who previously proved he carries his power late with a knock out comeback win over Siar Ozgul, who had the better of the eight. He attempted to force the issue, get on the inside and he did land some decent shots to the body.
It was a mini revival and McKenna possibly still did enough to win the round and finished the fight stronger. He was the busier, stronger and more effective of the two in the last two stanzas.
McKenna now moves into the semi finals of the a contest that is offering a massive contract with a big American promotional outfit, rumoured to be Top Rank.