Tyrone McKenna looked to settled his long running grudge with Ohara Davies by putting the grudge aside for 12 rounds, but came out second despite a disciplined display.
The Belfast fighter and his London counterpart swapped trading verbal blows for exchanging blows of a different kind in the Golden Contract light welterweight decider.
‘The Mighty Celt’ managed to ignore the pairs history and the genuine bad blood element to use his head rather than his heart. However, the judges favour the stalking of the Essex fighter over the skill of the southpaw in a close and tense fight.
It was anything but the fireworks some predicted, but that was much to Davies frustration and McKenna’s making, yet again Davies’ work still managed to catch the judges eye.
‘Two Tank’s’ became the first ever Golden Contract winner thanks to a score card of 95-95, 96-94, 96-94.
The 28-year-old also secured a six figure promotional contract with a promoter rumoured to be Top Rank.
McKenna looked to move in the first, but finding the right distance proved somewhat difficult due to Davies’ deceiving reach. Both fighters enjoyed moments of success, but you McKenna appeared to shade the round.
The fireworks expected certainly were not on display throughout the second as McKenna remained disciplined.
‘The Mighty Celt’ made the ‘Two Tanks’ look tank like cumbersome for the majority of the stanza, but didn’t dish out massive punishment when he made his rival miss.
The English fighter showed more urgency in the third and made McKenna work that bit harder. However, he still struggled to land anything big and when the Belfast man was forced to hold his feet he worked well on the inside.
An exchange at the end of the round suggested a fight might break out.
The fourth saw McKenna hold his feet more, indeed he eventually took centre of the ring and moved his opponent back. The Pete Taylor trained fighter still managed to prove illusive, but was able to punish rather than just frustrate ‘OD’.
McKenna shipped a big right hand in the fifth, took it and didn’t see the red mist. He still remained disciplined, as Davies possibly had his best round, albeit a tight one.
A cut over McKenna’s eye in the sixth seemed to liven up his foe as the fight began to suit the Essex fighter more. Yet still there was no wide winner of the round as McKenna had moments and made his foe miss on occasion.
The Belfast southpaw was back on his toes in the seventh and it played a part in making the Kevin Mitchell trained fighter look awkward. Some straight lefts and well timed jabs seemed enough to make it a McKenna round rather than the stalking Davies.
The extra urgency of Davies at the start of the eight suggested he felt he might need to make an impression, his corner’s calls for more between rounds suggested as much too.
However, going into the final two of a tense fight there was a sense things were close.
McKenna did manage to put his shots together on occasion in the ninth and seemed to continue to benefit from the fact Davies looked big shot hungry. It appeared he wanted to walk the 30-year-old onto a big right, which allowed McKenna to look the aggressor.
McKenna continued to box to instructions in the final stanza and looked at his best as his long time rival loaded up. The usually war hungry boxer even managed to fight with his head rather than heart in what are usually a gungho final 10 seconds.