They are great friends, both members of the Belfast ‘TJV’, and he will even be sporting a portrait of the Frampton family on his shorts as part of a bet, but it is all business for Tyrone McKenna this weekend.
The Lenadoon light welterweight takes on Jack Catterall [21(12)-0] on the Mick Conlan homecoming card at the SSE Odyssey Arena on Saturday night and the fact that his opponent is a stablemate of ‘The Jackal’ won’t be a factor.
English fighter Catterall stepped in a month out from the fight following the withdrawal of McKenna’s Irish rival Phil Sutcliffe Jr, throwing up an intriguing proposition and potentially putting Frampton, who he trains alongside at the VIP Gym in Astley under Jamie Moore, in a delicate situation.
It’s not new for McKenna [16(6)-0-1]. ‘The Mighty Celt’ was due to face another Frampton stablemate, Tommy Coyle, in October only for the bout to fall through and in April he defeated Anto Upton who was cornered by Ray and Mark Ginley – two of McKenna’s oldest and closest friends.
The Belfast boxer is more than happy to follow boxing’s code of honour and he outlined how “I would never put Carl in the position where he talks about one of his gym mates. I wouldn’t like him to ﬁght one of my team mates and ask about them.”
“There is a line which you never cross during camp and I would never ask Carl, ‘How is Jack getting on in sparring? How is he doing with his weight?’”
“I wouldn’t expect him to say to Jack what he knows about me and he wouldn’t get involved in that. There has to be respect.”
“Carl was actually supposed to walk me out to the ring for the ﬁght when Phil was the opponent, but that has changed. I wouldn’t want Carl in an awkward position.”
“I was going to ﬁght Tommy Coyle before and he was in camp with Carl. I always seem to be ﬁghting friends or friends of friends. Everyone in boxing seems to know each other.”
The clash on Saturday night is the chief support on the BT Sport and BoxNation-broadcast card, topping an undercard that also features Tyrone McCullagh v Joe Ham, the Jono Carroll v Deco Geraghty rematch, Leis Benson v Johnny Coyle, and Gary Cully v Zoltan Szabo.
Catterall, who is a heavy favourite, puts his WBO Inter-Continental title and #5 ranking with the organisation on the line in the ten-rounder.
Also set to appear on the bill are Lewis Crocker, Padraig McCrory, Taylor McGoldrick, Sunny Edwards, Neslan Machado, and the professional debut of Sean McComb.