Talking up title challenges no joke for 'Mighty Celt' Tyrone McKenna

Tyrone McKenna looked impressive in his victory over Dublin's Jake Hanney last time out. Picture by Matt Bohill
Neil Loughran

SAT at the top table during Thursday’s press conference, Tyrone McKenna could see a smiling Jamie Conlan - in amongst the public - lining up a photo with his phone.

“He was sleggin’ me about my glasses,” he says, rolling his eyes behind a pair of bifocals.

“I don’t wear them really, just for TV… when I’m watching TV I mean, not when I’m on TV.”

The 27-year-old bursts out in laughter.

By his own admission, he is the subject of regular chain-yanking from his stablemates in Marbella, often about his starring role in the 2005 film The Mighty Celt alongside Robert Carlyle and Gillian Anderson.

But don’t be fooled by the easy-going façade; McKenna is a serious operator.

On the last two Boxnation shows, he has delivered top-class performances in grudge matches against Dublin foes Sean Creagh and Jake Hanney, inflicting first defeats on both men.

But even before stepping between the ropes, McKenna got right in his opponents’ faces, making his presence felt at the weigh-ins.

Those images made it onto the evening news and did the rounds on social media. All of a sudden, people were looking out for his fight.

“It’s better to do something mad and get your name out there rather than be a bore. Nobody likes to watch a bore, do they?”

He isn’t expected to have too many problems with Hungarian Ferenc Katona at the Waterfront Hall tonight, and McKenna is already looking at bigger names down the line.

Having recorded two impressive wins in-a-row, McKenna is keen to keep the momentum going and admits he would relish a future fight with the trash-talker supreme, OHara Davies.

Davies faces talented Scot Josh Taylor for the Commonwealth super-lightweight title on July 8, but McKenna believes a showdown with the man known as ‘Two Tanks’ would capture the imagination.

“There’s been loads of tweets going back and forward for the last few months, but I’ve never seen him.

“He’s a good talker and because I love to be a mouthpiece too, if I ever fought him there’d be serious hype in that fight. The build-up would be really enjoyable.

“My management tried to get me another Irish title fight or a Welsh or Scottish guy for the Celtic belt this time, but no-one wanted to take it. They’re saying ‘who wants to fight a six foot one southpaw?’

“But I’m going to continue to chase the big names and hopefully someone takes it. Hopefully I’ll out again in September/October, and hopefully that’ll be a meaningful fight for a meaningful title.”

And if all else fails, he always has the silver screen to fall back on.

“After the boxing’s over I’ll get back into the acting game maybe,” he smiles.

“It still comes up a lot, funnily enough. There must be a lot of die-hard Mighty Celt fans out there.”

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