WBA Continental Europe Welterweight title: Tyrone McKenna bt Lewis Crocker UD
LEWIS Crocker won the unofficial Battle of Belfast and with it the WBA continental European title with a display of ferocious intensity that was too much for battling Tyrone McKenna.
McKenna had his moments but Crocker was in charge from the first bell to the last and took a unanimous decision 100-90 (on two cards) and 98-92 on the other.
“I would rather have died than lose this fight, that’s how much it meant to me,” said Crocker afterwards.
“This was pride, this was something I couldn’t lose and I went out and got the job done and I’m so proud. It was the most confident I’d been going into a fight. I have the mindset of a champion and I showed that tonight. I’m the king of Belfast!”
The partisan crowd got right behind McKenna but they didn’t have that much to cheer. There was spiteful intent in every punch Crocker threw. He smashed McKenna’s ribs with a series of left hooks in the opener and stalked him across the ring, hands out, inviting ‘The Mighty Celt’ to fire back. When he did, Crocker laughed it off and returned to his corner smiling.
He was still smiling at the end of the second. He had bossed the round again, tagging McKenna with a right hand counter and having the better of the exchanges.
A Crocker right uppercut/left hook pushed McKenna back into his own corner in the third. He fought his way out but had to soak up the same combination before Crocker slammed another left hook into his ribs. The storm calmed slightly in the fourth with McKenna getting close and holding his own.
There seemed to be as much ‘didn’t-even-hurt’ slagging going on as punching as both fighters traded blows and insults and although McKenna had some success, Crocker ended the round with body-head right hooks.
More comedy play-acting in the next but again Crocker, whose body punching was superb, was dominating the serious business and as the seventh began it seemed clear that McKenna needed to find another gear.
He found a home for his left hand in the seventh and had the better of the first half of the eighth but Crocker kept on coming and swinging and landing hurtful shots and it finished with McKenna pinned on the ropes. There was no way he was going down but Crocker is certainly on the up and next year could be the year of ‘The Croc’.