It was a case of guts but no glory – or balls but no belt – for Tyrone McKenna in Belfast Saturday night.
The Belfast fighter finally had his step up in class desire met as he took on world ranked Jack Catterall on the undercard of Michael Conlan’s Homecoming at the SSE Arena.
However, despite running the fancied fighter close, ‘The Mighty Celt’ lost his undefeated record after a points reverse.
It wasn’t all bad news for the rangy southpaw, who had the Frampton family portrait on his shorts, as while the Jamie Moore trained fighter came away with the win the home fighter comes away with most of the credit.
Those who bemoan the English fighters lack of gears may raise their voices again, but praise will come in for 5-1 outsider McKenna.
Not only did the Lenadoon man get up off the canvas three times he managed to finish within a round on two cards of securing a majority draw against a fighter some suggest is world level ready.
Furthermore he played his part in an entertaining fight, showed flashes of quality, lots of heart and would have caused the upset but for the knockdowns.
After a tight opener the bout seemed to swing in the away fighters favour in a crazy second. McKenna was dropped but hit on the floor by the relatively late replacement for Phil Sutcliffe Jr. The referee docked Carl Frampton’s gym mate a point, but a second knock down meant a possible 9/8 round for the visitor.
McKenna recovered well and was competitive in the fourth, but a skimming body shot in the fifth saw him visit the canvas again. At that stage it looked as if Catterall smelled blood but the former child actor showed he is the real boxing deal, recovering to cause the heavy favourite problems.
However, it wasn’t enough for McKenna to register a career changing win and he dropped to a points reverse.