Sparring with the enemy: McKenna on getting Korobov ready for Lee

FORGET sleeping with the enemy Tyrone McKenna has been sparring with the enemy, helping Matt Korobov get ready for his World title fight with Andy Lee this weekend.

Despite jokes from inside the camp, that the Belfast prospect was on a Russian spy mission, the Greenbloods puncher doesn’t kiss and tell.

The undefeated light welterweight did reveal the former amateur stand out is in amazing shape, but stressed if Ireland’s Lee was on top form he could claim victory.

McKenna confirmed what a lot of fight experts have been suggesting, Korobov isn’t too hard to find and is there to be hit.

 “I was sparring Matt about six rounds a day two or three times a week,” McKenna told

“Because I’m Irish Matt’s crew were joking with me saying I was a spy and stuff for Andy Lee, but we all know the etiquette and rules around sparring.

“In terms of supporting someone Saturday, I would never go against an Irish boxer even though I was in Matt’s camp I would still like Andy to win. He definitely has a chance, although Matt is looking strong and in good shape, he is there to be hit. I don’t think that’s anything Andy and his team wouldn’t have known from looking at videos. So Andy could do the job if he is in top form.”

While an Irish fighter sparring Korobov provides a good subplot to this Saturday’s WBO middleweight World title fight, it’s also a good news story in terms of McKenna.

Whilst on Irish amateur duty McKenna was forced to study the Russian two-time World amateur champion and he was delighted with the chance to share the ring, even if it just was the sparring ring.

“Working with a fighter that is in a World title fight is a great thing, learning a lot of new things and gaining a lot of experience and seeing what it takes to be on top.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years