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Lovable Lionheart Renald Garrido charms Belfast audience at final press conference

Renald Garrido [19(3)-16(0)-2] was in town today, and the Frenchman definitely made an impression.

Known as a character, ‘Lionheart’ arrived to the press conference at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast bearing gifts and gave promoter Eddie Hearn a bottle of wine and some chocolates – interrupting the Matchroom boss mid-interview..

Garrido takes on Belfast light welter Tyrone McKenna [14(6)-0-1] on the Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov undercard, live on Sky Sports, having stepped in last week as a late replacement for Hull’s Tommy Coyle.

It emerged however though that Garrido wasn’t ‘drafted in’ per say – more that the eccentric Frenchman volunteered himself for the fight at the SSE Odyssey Arena.

Relaying how the fight came about, Hearn described how “Renald Garrido is like a Twitter spy, whenever any fight at 140lbs or 147lbs falls through, he jumps straight in – he’s actually a matchmaker as well as a fighter.”

“He sent me a private message that said ‘yes please, I would like to fight Tyrone McKenna.'”

“I said ‘look, it’s 10 rounds, 140lbs.’ He said ‘I can do 144lbs,’ and I said ‘no, that’s no good'”

“Then he said ‘well I’ve already spoke to Tyrone McKenna and he said it’s fine!'”

Weight negotiations weren’t the only thing that went on between McKenna and Garrido either.

“He’s a fecking maniac,” laughed McKenna beforehand.

“He messaged me asking was I keeping my moustache for the fight. I said yes and then he replied that he was going to grow a moustache too so we can be like two Mexicans!”

Garrido would then embrace the Lenadoon southpaw and discussed plans for what he describes as “the best weigh-in of the year.”

What this is, fans will see tomorrow.


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