Boxing

Tyrone McKenna beats tough Mexican Felix to clinch WBO belt

Tyrone McKenna defeated Jose Felix to win the WBO Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Championship. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Andy Watters

IF it's 'bang for your buck' you like then Tyrone McKenna is your man. The 'Mighty Celt' promised war and that’s exactly what he delivered in beating rugged Mexican Jose Felix Jr to win the WBO Inter Continental Light-Welterweight title.

McKenna is a natural warrior and he locked horns in a terrific battle but he also used his head and his advantages in height and reach against Felix junior.

“I just want to entertain fans and be the most entertaining fighter in Ireland,” he said afterwards.

“To be that I believe I have to fight the best, so whoever is put forward that’s the best, I’ll fight him.”

McKenna was caught by a low blow early in the opener as the Mexican demonstrated that he wasn’t going to be bullied. He caught the Belfast man with a legal straight right and a clubbing left hook but took a standing count before the end of the round when referee Steve Gray ruled a cuffing push as a knockdown.

Blood trickled from the Mexican’s right eye at the end of the second after McKenna shook him with a left hook but in the third he dropped the local favourite with a straight right hand into the body.

The ‘Mighty Celt’ bounced back immediately as the fighters took turns to smash each other’s rib cages but McKenna’s height and reach had begun to take its toll by the halfway point.

Controlling the fight with a ramrod southpaw jab, McKenna stalked the tiring Mexican around the ring and Felix was staggered with a minute left in the seventh which ended with the Belfast man well ahead on the scorecards.

Felix was still a threat – the right hook to the body-left to the head combination caused McKenna problems in the eighth and the Mexican thumped his chest defiantly when he was countered with a straight left.

His fighting heart and granite chin was tested to its limit over the final two rounds with left hooks and well-timed uppercuts. McKenna created openings, picked his punches and dominated the final two stanzas to take the title 97-991, 97-92 and 99-91 on the judges’ scorecards with a career-best performance.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Boxing