Belfast crowd no issue for Jack Catterall ahead of Tyrone McKenna clash


Jack Catterall [21(12)-0] has sparred Tyrone McKenna before and is more than confident that, whatever way the Irishman comes to fight and no matter how loud the support is, he will come out victorious on Saturday night.

English light welter Catterall stepped in at the start of the month to replace the injured Phil Sutcliffe Jr as McKenna’s opponent on the massive Mick Conlan homecoming bill at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

The switch elevated the bout to chief support and the Frank Warren-promoted boxer puts his WBO Inter-Continental title and #5 ranking on the line against the rangey McKenna [16(6)-0-1].

‘The Mighty Celt’ is mightily confident he will upset the highly-rated Catterall but the Jamie Moore-trained fighter has promised that no such thing will happen.

‘El Gato’ believes he is better than McKenna in all areas and had no problem taking the clash at relatively short notice and in the Belfast man’s home city.

“Beating Tyrone in his own backyard will just make the victory so much sweeter,” stated Catterall.

“I’ve never been to Belfast so that’s a new experience but I’m very aware of how hostile the Fighting Irish crowd is. I don’t particularly want any cups of piss chucked over me but I’m actually excited by experiencing their passion. They’re a proper fight crowd who’ll make a lot of noise and, whether that’s for me or their man Tyrone, it’s a good thing.”

“I’ll not be remotely concerned about what McKenna tries to do. I’ll go into the fight and establish myself. He can react to me. If he wants a phone box war, he’ll get one. I’ll be too strong, too powerful and once I land one on his whiskers, he’ll not want to engage.”

“I’m fit and ready for 10 very hard rounds. I’m not daft. I know I’m not Gennady Golovkin and you have to have a strategy. But there’s a good chance I’ll stop him.”

“I’ll need to put on a masterclass to beat a Belfast boy in Belfast and that’s exactly what I intend to deliver.”

Having sparred and studied the Lenadoon fighterr, Catterall holds no fear ahead of the BT Sport and BoxNation-broadcast bout.

He described how “I’ve studied Tyrone a great deal yet I’ve never seen him in a fight against anyone good enough to cause him problems.”

“Tyrone’s a good fighter but he’ll find I’m better. Yes, he’s older and brings a better amateur pedigree but I’m the more experienced professional, I’ve come through trickier fights. I’ve better speed, power, timing. I’ve got it all.”

“We’ve been working on stuff we need to combat and expose the flaws McKenna’s known to have. He seems to keep his hands low yet his past history suggests that he’ll come to slug. Against me, that’s the wrong thing to do. Even if he TRIES to box me, he’ll soon return to type. I’ll not have to go looking for him.’

While McKenna is a tall for the weight and Catterall is the opposite, the half a foot or so in the difference doesn’t worry the Lancaster man.

Catterall notes how “I’ve never been the tallest for my weight so I’m used to conceding. Anyway, Tyrone doesn’t make the best of the advantages he enjoys. He’s no Bradley Skeete. The way Tyrone fights, he’s not the hardest to find.”

“Besides, Nathan Brough was the same size as Ty and what happened to him? Left snoozing!”

“And I’ve beaten several southpaws before. Tom Stalker was a southpaw. All our preparation has been geared towards southpaws. That said, if Tyrone was foolish enough to come out orthodox I’d quickly adapt. That’s one of my best qualities. ”

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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: joneill6@tcd.ie