Despite mouthwatering match-ups between Marco McCullough and Jono Carroll as well as the tasty middleweight meeting of Luke Keeler and Conrad Cummings, the settling of the Tyrone McKenna-Phil Sutcliffe Jr grudge was the one that garnered the most interest.
Having traded verbals over the past year, there was a real sense of excitement when the light welterweight pair agreed to trade leather in Belfast at the SSE Odyssey Arena on April 21st.
News broke yesterday that Sutcliffe had to pull out of the Dublin-Belfast clash due to a knee injury, but Upton has stepped up to the plate to ensure three domestic derbies still play out on the card.
The 26-year-old, whose older brothers Sonny and Pauly also box, suggests fight fans shouldn’t be disappointed as he plans to take his chance in the spotlight and put on a performance that will grab the attention.
Upton brings an interesting Belfast derby element to the card – and is also trained by Ray and Mark Ginley who are former amateur clubmates and childhood friends of McKenna [15(6)-0-1].
The former English champion has also been calling for a McKenna fight since last year and is ready to snap up his chance.
Upton said that “I’m very happy with this opportunity.”
“I’ve waited for it for a while. Tyrone has been on big shows before and this is my chance to use that platform to show people who I am.”
“I’m looking forward to letting everyone know what I’m about. Everyone’s in for a good night.”
While devastated to miss out on a huge chance to shine, Sutcliffe Jr seems intent on fighting the winner of the of the April 21st clash and looks to be backing Upton for the win.
“Everything was going well and I was asked to do a few rounds with a local lad. In the fifth round, something went in my knee. We’re awaiting an MRI scan as we speak,” said the Crumlin BC graduate.
“There were a few words said between Tyrone and I and I was looking forward to fighting him so much. It’s desperate at the minute. I’ll make the recovery process as quick as possible and get back to action.”
“I wish Anthony Upton the best of luck in the fight. We could be making a fight against him if all goes well for him on the night. For me, I just want to be back training as soon as possible.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)