Boxing

Tyrone McKenna targets Ohara Davies rumble in draw for Golden Contract tournament

The greatest showman. Tyrone McKenna relishes the prospect of taking on rival Ohara Davies in the Golden Contract tournament. Picture Mark Marlow..
Andy Watters

TYRONE McKenna finished training yesterday “ready to batter a few people” and he won't have long to wait before he gets the chance to do so.

The Belfast fighter is impatiently waiting until next Tuesday's quarter-final draw for the light-welterweight version of Sky Sports' ‘Golden Contract' tournament at York Hall on November 22. He is part of a high-quality eight-man field that also includes his arch enemy Ohara Davis, former opponent Lewis Benson, 24-0 USA-based Kazak Zhankosh Turarov, Mohamed Mimoune (21-3), Anthony Yigit (24-1-1), Darren Surtees (12-0) and Logan Yoon (16-0).

“You know what, I'll take them all on the same night,” said McKenna.

“There are seven other fighters and I think I could beat every single one of them, so I don't mind who I get (in the draw). Obviously the public will want me to fight Ohara or have a rematch with Benson - I think I have the beating of both of them.

“I've beaten Benson before and I'd be extremely confident of going in with him again. The fight that I had, I did the weight wrong and I was drained going into it but I still won on his home turf (Glasgow).

“I'm 100 per cent this time, I've done everything right: I've done the track work, I've had great sparring with Sam Maxwell… Everything has been perfect and I'm ready to batter a few.”

Benson threatened to quit boxing altogether when McKenna had his hand raised after they had gone head-to-head in November last year. It was close on the night but ‘the Mighty Celt' did enough to get the nod and says he wouldn't mind “settling that score”.

“I went over to Benson's home town, the referee/judge was from the British board and it was a close fight, yes, but I got the win and I believe I won the fight,” said McKenna.

“I wouldn't mind fighting him again, it was a bad performance from me on the night and I think I'm 10 times better than that. I wouldn't mind settling that score, to be honest.”

He has history with Benson but genuine bad blood with outspoken Londoner Davies (19-2). A rivalry that began with traded insults on social media has developed into a feud and there is no love lost now.

McKenna and Davies almost came to blows after a scuffle at York Hall early last month.

“During the week Davies had said on Instagram: ‘Next time I see him, I'm gonna smash him, I'm gonna smash him…'” McKenna explained.

“I got annoyed about him and when I saw him at the fight I walked past him a few times to see if he would smash me, I was hoping he would live up to his word but he didn't.

“He went out to do an interview so I went out to have a conversation with him. He grabbed me and there was a scuffle and it got broke up. He said he was going to smash me but he didn't.

“Hopefully the fight does get made, it would be a great final between me and Davies but I don't mind what stage I get him at. I've no doubt in my mind that I am a better boxer than him – he's nowhere near my level. In the ring, 100 per cent, I beat him all day long.”

McKenna versus Davies would make a terrific final but unbeaten Khazak Turarov and IBO champion Mimoune will also fancy their chances in the Golden Contract.

“They are coming in hungry, they're coming in to prove a point and they have a winning mentality so they are very dangerous as well,” said McKenna.

“There are no easy fights in it and I think the tournament has the makings of a lot of exciting nights.

“Turarov (ranked nine with the WBO) could be the man to beat and the French guy Mimoune is number 10 with the WBC. So winning this will elevate my profile massively and when I win it I'll be knocking on the door for a world title.”

CARL Frampton target Jamel Herring fulfilled his side of the bargain by retaining his WBO super-featherweight world title with a unanimous decision (115-113, 117-111 and 117-111) win over contender Lamont Roach junior on Saturday night.

In the first defence of his title, the former US Marine dominated early on but had to survive an all-out assault from Roach late on to hold on to his belt. Now there is the possibility that his next defence will be against Frampton in the USA early next year but only if ‘the Jackal' comes through his comeback fights against Tyler McCreary in Las Vegas on November 30.

“I won on Memorial Day Weekend and I defended it on Veterans' Day Weekend, so it definitely means a lot to all of our troops out there defending our country and still in harm's way," Herring said.

“This is for you all. I couldn't lose it on our weekend. It means a lot to still be a world champion.

“Like I said, Miguel Berchelt is considered number one, the best super featherweight in the world. In order to be the best, you have to keep testing yourself.”

BILLY Joe Saunders retained his world title by beating Argentinian Marcelo Esteban Coceres in a technical knockout in Los Angeles on Saturdau night.

In what was his first fight in America, the super-middleweight was hoping to make the most of his opportunity on the undercard of KSI's rematch with Logan Paul.

But the crowd was not impressed with the slow pace, and the fight was greeted with silence and occasional booing. In the 11th round, though, Saunders found his form and dropped Coceres three times before the Englishman was declared the winner by TKO.

"There's no excuse, that performance was not worthy of Canelo or any of the other big names," Saunders said.

"I knew by round nine that I had to get him out of here. My timing wasn't right, my head wasn't right, nothing was right.

"I'm not one for excuses. I needed to let him gas out then attack.

"I've got the win and I've got to thank the American fans and I hope they tune in again because that wasn't the best of me."

In the headline fight, Britain's KSI won his bout against fellow YouTube personality Logan Paul.

The fight at the Staples Center was won by the Watford product in a split decision, with two of the three judges siding with him.

The pair first fought last year in Manchester but a "majority draw" was declared after six rounds.

"Last time I was scared to fight," KSI, whose real name is Olajide Olayinka Williams JJ Olatunji, said after the match.

"This time I just went in. I just kept going and going. He couldn't deal with my jabs. I got him."

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Boxing