Tyrone McKenna has the charisma and then some to pull off going solo but will miss his friend and partner in boxing antics after he retired.
The Two Tyrone’s double act is no more, as Tyrone McCullagh hung up his gloves and walked away from boxing last weekend.
The Belfast and Derry fighters were known for being close having forged a real bond after growing up in boxing together. However, they were more famed for the crazy behaviour they got up to on a regular basis.
There were the Tyrone Olympics, the Dumber and Dumber press conference, McKenna walking to the ring dressed as a panda, paying homage to one McCullagh had adopted, ‘The Mighty Celt’ having a his friend eating a burrito tattooed on his leg and much much more.
It’s that fun, McKenna, who looks set to play chief support to Michael Conlan in Belfast on August 6, will miss around camp, although he does point out there was a serious side to the relationship especially when it came to training.
“It feels great, Tyrone number 2 was holding me back more than anything,” he jokes when asked about McCullagh’s retirement.
“Only joking, it makes camp alot more boring, and even in training he was always pushing me to go that extra bit harder so I miss that.”
The light welterweight, whose first encouther with the ‘White Chocolate’ was a nine counties’ Boy 4 tournament defeat at the age of 14, will fight on and has big fight plans – but understands why McCullagh exits stage left. He reveals the tricky southpaw was falling out of love with the game and shock defeat to Brett Fidoe back in June of last year proved the final straw.
“I know boxing was growing to annoy him more and more and then when he lost I think that made his decision for him and that it was time to retire.”
Although it may hurt him somewhat and he certainly won’t want to hear back from ‘Tyrone Number 2’, the Oliver Plunkett’s graduate did lavish praise on McKenna.
“Tyrone had an unbelievable career both amateur and professional. He’s made a lifetime of memories and achieved a lot he should be proud of from headlining shows and winning belts to traveling the world with boxing,” he adds before quickly bringing the humour back in..” but his biggest accomplishment would be beating me in amateur days and something he’ll never let me live down.”
Asked to describe McCullagh the fighter, the boxer that knows him best regurgitated a word that has past the lips of everyone who has come across the boxing nurse, awkward.
“I think one word always associated with McCullagh is awkward. I’ve sparred him through the 18 years I’ve known him and I never ever worked out the right tactics to actually hit him. He had unbelievable footwork and an unreal work ethic when it came to training.”