King Tyrone McKenna warns Darragh Foley ahead of all-Irish clash


Tyrone McKenna [18(6)-1(0)-1] is adamant he is King of the Irish light welterweights and has warned Darragh Foley that he will have to kill him if he wants to take the crown.

The pair collide for the WBC International rankings title in Belfast on June 21st and while the Lenadoon fighter and Bondai-based Blanchardstown operator trade leather for a place in the Top 15, the domestic element is not lost on McKenna.

The Irish title is not on the line but ‘The Mighty Celt’ suggests the winner will be confirmed the best 140lbs fighter in Ireland. 

The 29-year-old entertainer, who hints he is fighting recently world ranked Foley [17(9)-3(0)-1] because Ohara Davies was ‘scared’, claims the crown sits comfortably on his head at present and has told ‘Super’ it will take something special to dislodge it.  

“Who really knows how it came about? Certain people were scared to fight me,” winks McKenna when speaking to Irish-Boxing.com following the announcement of the fight. 

“Foley has a bitta balls and has stepped up to the plate to try and take my crown of Ireland, but if you’re going to take on the king you’re going to have to kill him.”

It’s typically dramatic from the former child actor and expert fight builder, but he is in confident mood ahead of the bout.

The Danny Vaughan-trained southpaw has been working on avoiding the urge to brawl since the turn of the year and has been given ‘a use your skills and attributes’ mantra, but claims he can beat the equally confident Dub whichever way he wants.

“The fight will play out the way I want it,” he declares.

“If I want to fight, I’ll fight, if I want to box, I’ll box. It depends on how I feel on the night.”

“But I believe either or, I will still have the Irish light welter crown firmly on my head,” he adds before discussing the importance of a the WBC ranking title. 

“I will also have a new belt around my waist. The title gets me top 15, it gets me closer to the world title shot and it gets me where I want and deserve to be.”

Such is the character and fighting style of both that there are some suggesting the air could be painted blue in the build up and the canvas red during the bout as the colourful duo trade words before they trade blows.

McKenna seems excited by the prospect of pitting pre-fight performance against another talker and believes it will only add to a fight he claims will be a ‘beautiful thing to watch’.

“I believe this being a massive Irish affair he will be putting extra in the gym and coming in the best Foley he can be, which makes me excited.”

“I’m here to entertain and to give fans their moneys worth. I love nights like these. We are both big talkers, we know how to get people excited for the fight and our styles are going to gel.”

“It’s going to be a beautiful thing to watch come fight night I believe.”

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The most entertaining part of Foley’s last big fight against Akee, Ennis-Brown was he shapes he threw the way of Ohara Davis in the ring walk.

Foley was outpointed by the awkward Englishman at the York Hall in December in a sloppy affair, but McKenna claims he isn’t reading anything into that fight.

The Belfast boxer is instead planning for the Foley who looked set to go to war with Chris Jenkins before the bout was stopped after a clash of heads opened up a cut.

“I’ve watched Foley twice once was against Brown, which I don’t read too much into as Brown is a very negative awkward fighter who would make most look bad.”

“He looked well against Jenkins which was shaping up to be a tasty fight. He’s a nice tidy boxer but I see a lot I can exploit.”

McKenna has fought in three All-Irish fights since 2016 – against Sean Creagh, Jake Hanney, and Anto Upton – as well as being in wars with Jack Catterall and Lewis Benson and has earned his status as a bill topper.

To top an ESPN+ broadcast bill which plays out at the Ulster Hall is something extra exciting for the southpaw.

“It’s great,” he admits.

“It’s a place I belong after entertaining the fans in my last five fights. I think I deserve to be topping the bills, but to do so at the Ulster hall is special and it will be even more special when I lift the title.”

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com