Tyrone McKenna aiming to leap-frog Jack Catterall to World title shot


Tyrone McKenna [16(6)-0-1] is ready to upset the odds against Jack Catterall this Saturday night and replace the touted talent in some mega match-ups.

The Lenadoon light welterweight challenges for the WBO Inter-Continental champion’s rankings belt – and #5 rating – in the chief support bout on the Mick Conlan homecoming card at the SSE Odyssey Arena.

Initially due to face Phil Sutcliffe Jr in an all-Irish grudge match, the Dubliner’s withdrawal saw Catterall step in on a months’ notice – making McKenna go from favourite to underdog.

The 5/1 outsider believes he is being overlooked by Catterall [21(12)-0] and has promised to score a break-out win and replace the Englishman in some mooted fights.

Catterall, promoted by Frank Warren, is being lined up for both WBO champion Maurice Hooker and stablemate Ohara Davies but McKenna has warned that he will spoil the party.

“Once I beat Catterall and establish my name, I want the big fights as soon as possible,” stated the rangey southpaw

“I’ve been pleading for these types of fights for a while. I’m ready to take on the world!”

“Jack says he’s not underestimating me but he keeps talking about future fights with Ohara Davies and Maurice Hooker. Hold on …..! First, he’s got to get past a 6ft 1in southpaw who’s a nightmare for anyone.”

“Hooker v McKenna. Freak against Freak! I’m just concentrating on Saturday but, yeah, let’s bring ‘Mighty Mo’ to Belfast. He’s definitely beatable.”

McKenna comes into the fight full of confidence following a career-best win over Anto Upton just two months ago.

With Irish, and more importantly West Belfast, dominance asserted, McKenna is steadfast in his belief that he will cause a shock on BT Sport.

Looking back at his most recent win, McKenna noted how “you could throw a stone from my garden and hit Upton’s house so there was a lot of west Belfast pride involved; a bit of needle. There’s no way I could’ve shown my face around here, if I’d lost to him,’

‘”Anthony is a tricky, sharp switch hitter, a very good boxer but, on the night, he just wanted to move. It was a bit frustrating because I trained very hard and sparring went unbelievably well. Still, I demonstrated a bit of power to drop him in the ninth and won comfortably enough on the cards.”

“It told me a lot about where I’m at, in fighting terms. He’d beaten me in the amateurs but I got my revenge where it mattered.’”

Catterall promises to be an even tougher task than Upton but McKenna feels he has the edge in every area over the unbeaten Lancastarian.

‘The Mighty Celt’ outlined how “Jack and I have sparred in the past and we get along, talk quite often on social media. As a fan, I enjoy watching him fight. He’s always entertaining and he’s a solid all-rounder. It’s sure to be a tough night for me.

“But it’s a test I’m more than ready for. Since switching to Danny two years ago, I’ve grown as a fighter. He’s got me training very hard and eating right. My defence is much improved and I’m finally sitting down on my punches.”

“The size differential makes no difference. I have to punch down but I had well over 100 amateur contests and encountered every style and size. Some highlight that I’ve ‘advantages’ but I’ve never been in the boxing game to jab and move. I love to entertain the fans,’

“Boxing a fellow southpaw won’t be an issue either. I’ve done most of my sparring with Tom Stalker, Jono Carroll and Sam Maxwell, who switches. Sometimes I prefer a southpaw for a change,” he added before acknowledging his home advantage.

“There’s zero pressure on me. Jack holds the belt, he’s the odds-on favourite, he’s the one saying I’m ‘easy work’.”

“I’ve fought before at the Waterfront and SSE in Belfast and the fans give you a big, big drive. Our fight is likely to be just before Mick [Conlan]’s big homecoming so the hall should be rammed and I guarantee it’ll daunt Jack Catterall. I believe it’ll affect his performance and inspire me. ”

“I’m fit and ready to rumble. If Catterall wants to war, we war! He’s talking of making it a hat-trick of one round wins in a row so maybe he’ll steam out for an early ‘kill’. However, if he tries to box instead, I’ll outsmart him. I’ve far greater amateur experience and I’d pitch my boxing brain against anyone else’s in the division. Either way, baby!”

“I’ve faster hands, faster feet and think speed will be a key factor. With 8oz gloves on, a stoppage is possible. I won’t be looking for it, but I certainly punch hard enough”. If I execute my game plan, I expect it to be a comfortable night for me.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@thefIrish)

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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