“Everyone I have offered has rejected it” says McKenna – believes Sutcliffe won’t want it either


It looked like it would be role reversal for Tyrone McKenna [14(6)-0-1], Irish boxing’s new call out king seemed destined to become the subject of fighter interest himself.

When a hand injury forced Tommy Coyle out of a breakthrough fight for the MTK fighter on the Burnett v Zhakiyanov undercard at the SSE Odyssey Arena, he was left looking for an opponent for October 21st.

With a primetime TV slot on what promises to be an exciting World title undercard, it seemed a host of names across Ireland and Britain would be duking it out to duke it out with the rangy southpaw.

However despite bringing the chance to grab the attention live on Sky to the table, McKenna claims the uptake is similar to when his screams for a fight fell on deaf ears.

“You would think that wouldn’t you?” laments McKenna to Irish-Boxing.com

“Everyone I have offered has rejected it. Some good names and some people that were fit and ready to step in for the 21st and still wouldn’t take it – which is surprising but I don’t blame them.”

“I’m becoming a seriously avoided fighter it seems.”

Irish-Boxing.com produced a list of six potential opponents for The Mighty Celt this week, and McKenna revealed a number have been approached to no avail.

“We actually might of offered a few of the people you mentioned already and they didn’t take it unfortunately,’ he added before stressing an opponent might be confirmed today.

“There’s been word of someone that might step in but just waiting for it to get confirmed today hopefully.”

Regardless of who is announced it’s somewhat disappointing for the Belfast man. A fight against the well known and respected Coyle offered McKenna a chance to breakthrough and make a serious name for himself.

Indeed Coyle was probably the only fighter of note at the weight he didn’t name drop presumably as he felt the Hull favourite might be looking toward titles rather than a fight with a hungry prospect.

He admits he was devastated when Coyle texted him with the news and recalled how “I was gutted obviously, I thought this was my time to make a good name for myself impress on Sky.”

“I was training very hard for this one, everything was going perfect and to get that kinda news two weeks before the fight was devastating.” he continued before revealing the manner in which he found out.

“I actually woke up early to go training and looked at my phone and saw a mail from Tommy Coyle saying he injured ligaments in his hand and wouldn’t be able to punch for two weeks so couldn’t fight – wasn’t a great way to start the day!

Looking ahead, the proposed replacement that has generated the most talk is Dubliner Phil Sutcliffe Jr [13(8)-2(1)].

McKenna is keen, but doesn’t think it will happen on October 21st. The man who took Dublin scalps when beating previously undefeated pair Sean Creagh and Jake Haney, sees the appeal of another Belfast v Dublin dust up – but can’t see it happening just yet.

The Danny Vaughan-trained puncher claims he is more than up for trading leather with a fighter famed for his knockout power in the amateur ranks and believes ‘Young Phil’ would have a similar mindset.

However he thinks the Dub might not want to go into such a big meeting without at short notice.

McKenna stated that ‘I’m one hundred percent up to fight Phil and I know he’s up to fight me – but obviously he’d want to be in top shape and not a late notice replacement so, as much as we would love it, I can’t see it at this time.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]