“He’s not a unique fighter” – Tyrone McKenna vows to stop Phil Sutcliffe Jr

Of the three all-Irish fights announced this afternoon for the Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire undercard in Belfast, one in particular has some personal animosity.

Light welters Tyrone McKenna [15(6)-0] and Phil Sutcliffe [14(9)-2(1)] will trade leather on the Saturday April 21st bill at the SSE Odyssey Arena after a relatively short – yet quite hostile – rivalry.

Following the withdrawal of Tommy Coyle from their scheduled fight at the same venue back in October, Belfast’s McKenna called for Dubliner Sutcliffe to step into the breach.

Crumlin’s Sutcliffe did not respond to this call-out too fondly, lambasting McKenna for foisting a potential bout on him with two weeks notice and while he was out of camp.

Sutcliffe would call for the fight afterwards and the MTK stablemates have subsequently been matched for the big BT Sport/BoxNation bill in the Titanic City in just under three month’s time.

Irish-Boxing.com spoke to McKenna this afternoon at the press conference at the Europa Hotel in Belfast and asked the long southpaw whether, in light of their back and forths, there was a personal element to the clash.

“It’s not pers-” begins McKenna before admitting “yeah, actually, fuck it, it is.”

“He’s saying I’m Billy Big Balls. Why would I have to be Billy Big Balls to call him out? What is he trying to say he is? Some sort of fucking superstar?

“I called him out – he cried because no-one was calling him out, and now he’s crying because I called him out! What the fuck does he want?”

“It’s happening. I’ve never shied away from it, I never tried to say I was going down the British route. I fight who they [MTK] put in front of me. They put Phil Sutcliffe in front of me and I took it straight away.”

‘The Mighty Celt’ is more than familiar with Sutcliffe. Indeed he was beaten by ‘Succo’ in the 2012 National Elite Senior Championships [8-13 under the old scoring system] however he is predicting a much different result this time round.

“I grew up with Sutcliffe,” said McKenna.

“I know exactly what Sutcliffe is about, his weaknesses, his strengths. I actually watched him recently against [Andreas] Maier. It was short-lived but it was a good fight for him.”

“Everyone against me comes in at 5’9″ or under and Phil is no different. He’s the one who’s going to struggle to find sparring opponents and change his tactics big time for this fight. I’m a 6’1″ southpaw, he’s going to struggle.”

“I’ve got about a million sparring partners I could use for Phil Sutcliffe, he’s not a unique fighter. He carries power, but a lot of people carry power – and he’ll actually have to hit me.”

“Two Dubs before, two knockouts before. This is next level but it’s the same prediction,” added McKenna in reference to his BUI Celtic title stoppage wins over Sean Creagh and Jake Hanney.


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