Tyrone McKenna [22(6)-2(0)-1] wants to win hearts more than he wants to win titles.
The Belfast fighter’s ‘goal chart’ doesn’t make for difficult reading, in fact, it has one word written plastered all over it, ENTERTAIN.
The former child actor turned war-loving fighter’s only target from here on out is to give fans fights and nights to remember, thekind of nights that will ensure he goes down as one of Ireland’s most entertaining fighters.
“I’m going to entertain every single time,” he bullishly declares to Irish-boxing.com after another blood and guts encouther on the Feile bill last weekend.
“Some fighters want to be world champion or win this belt or that belt, I don’t think about that. I think about entertaining, I think about what’s the hardest fight out there for me, who will make for a fan-friendly fight and how can I entertain the fans the most. Who wants a world champion that’s cherry-picked all his opponents and bored his way to the title. If I’m going to be world champion I want to do by beating the toughest men I can in fights fans remember.”
Entertaining is what he values most and he revealed it played a massive part in him deciding to fight Mexican Jose Felix Jr at the Falls Park.
“Before the fight, I had a list of opponents that were nowhere near his quality and I chose him because I knew he would help me entertain the fans.”
The pair certainly put on a show, it was all action from first to the last bell, as ‘The Mighty Celt’ once again negated his physical advantages to slug it out with a Mexican with 30 knockouts to his name.
Indeed, the Pete Taylor trained fighter had two cuts over his right eye, had visited the canvas after a brilliantly executed body shot but, yet still marched forward and let leather fly.
“Listen I’ve said ‘War McKenna’ only from now on – and that’s what I gave tonight. I could have gone out there, 6’1 southpaw and out-boxed the Mexican 100 percent but I didn’t because I wanted to entertain the fans. I said it since my last fight I’m never boxing on the back foot again – and I didn’t for that whole fight.
“It was a tough tough fight against a tough tough man, but as I said I out Mexican-ed the Mexican. There were times he didn’t want to know at the start of every round he was coming out to try and out-hustle me – and he got a rude awakening and by the end of the round he was on the back foot.”
McKenna does feel he could have scored a stoppage win but claims he avoided going all out for the finish in fear of punching himself out – although there are some who will argue he didn’t put his foot on the pedal because he wanted the journey to last longer.
“I think I hurt him a good three or four times. I think I could have stopped him but I was conscious of not emptying the gas thank because he was a tough man that just kept coming. If I’d have tried to stop him and he hung on in there it could have caused me problems, so I was smart in that sense.”
Even a beaming McKenna smile couldn’t hide the lumps and bruises that decorated his face – and he predicted a sore few days lay ahead. Still, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I always wake up sore but I love it,” he continues.
“If I don’t wake up sore I’d be disappointed. I’ve had a few fights where I’d no pain or marks and I felt like I hadn’t been in a fight or done my job. Tommy McCarthy got it last week [against Chris Billam Smith] and said ‘I don’t know how you do it, Tyrone,’ and I just said ‘I love it’ – and I do love it. “
When asked about who he would like to put on a show with next he quickly name droped undefeated American light welter, Arnold Barboza.
“Next I’d like Arnold Barboza he is a tough man and you know that would be another exciting fight.”