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Mission Accomplished – Tribute to Tyrone McKenna

The odds of going out at the top in boxing are lottery jackpot high.

As if the sport wasn’t cruel enough, the noble art remains miserly in who it let’s reach the summit of the mountain and depart on cloud nine.

It’s generally a case of a retirement wake rather than a retirement party, with disappointment more often than not a companion of fighters hanging up the gloves for the final time.

Even worse, the sweet science can be most bitter toward its longest servants, only allowing them to learn their time is up in the ring and in a far from nice manner, almost forcing a painful exit upon them.

There are very few who exit stage left on the back of a big win, and thus very few whose final walk back to the dressing room is made without a tear escaping their eye.

That’s why it was refreshing to see Tyrone McKenna content and happy in the bowels of the SSE Arena earlier this month.

It appears McKenna beat the aforementioned odds, even cheated the system to spin three sevens and hit that rare retirement jackpot.

‘The Mightly Celt,’ who called it day following his fight with Lewis Crocker, didn’t leave the sport with a newly acquired title, adding further decoration to his heavily tattooed shoulder, he didn’t even retire on the back of a win.

As a result, he didn’t go out at what would traditionally be deemed the top. But McKenna and traditional are not regular bedfellows. He didn’t need victory to end on a high.

Everything about the de facto headline fight with Crocker represented ‘as good as it gets’ and the pinnacle for the southpaw.

McKenna’s last stand was in a fight that stuck two fingers up to taking the sensible option, a fight made for the fans, that allowed for entertainment well before the first bell and resulted in an action-packed 10 rounds. Boxing perfection for the Whiskey and White Podcaster.

Even better, the nature of the fight allowed him to showcase just how tough he is. Not just an entertainer who can perform for the cameras but someone who at his very essence has the quality most respected in boxing, heart.

It’s all in keeping with the Oliver Plunkett graduate’s skewed boxing value system where entertainment came before trinkets.

His journey was never about the final destination. There was never a big end goal instead it was about having as much fun as possible while there was petrol left in the tank and, with McKenna navigating, you could be sure each pit stop was going to deliver.

Belfast, UK – December 2: Tyrone McKenna v Lewis Crocker, WBA Continental Europe Welterweight Title 2 December 2023 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

His run of fights from 2016, starting with Sean Creagh and followed by fights with the likes of Jake Hanney, Renald Garrido, Anto Upton, Jack Catterall, Lewis Benson, Darragh Foley, Mikey Sakyi, Mohamed Mimoune, Ohara Davies, Jose Felix, Regis Prograis and Chris Jenkins before ending with Lewis Crocker is a run that may never be matched. It’s a sequence of fights that sum up the media savvy war lover. Not all world-level bouts but fan-friendly affairs deliberately picked to bring value and entertainment.

So to go out in the bums-off-seats fan-friendly manner he did adds up to the perfect farewell for Irish boxing’s great entertainer. Tyrone McKenna went out at the top, his top.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years