The talking is now over ahead of tomorrow’s huge night of boxing at the SSE Arena with Michael Conlan and Miguel Marriaga both quietly confident of victory which would put them right back into the world title mix.
Respect between the pair is evident as they both know the size of the task ahead at the close to sold-out arena for the main event that will see Conlan aim to put March’s world title defeat to Leigh Wood behind him, but chief support is a meeting between two men also eager to get back on the winning trail.
Tyrone McKenna and Chris Jenkins meet as they return from defeats to Regis Prograis and Florian Marku respectively at what looks to be a crossroads with the winner moving on and the vanquished left with a decision to make.
McKenna moves up to welterweight having campaigned at 140lb in the past and both men, who are known for cutting up in fights, are predicting the blue ring canvas to turn red by the time they are done.
Despite moving up into the 147lb division, the Belfast man will still hold considerable advantages in terms of height and reach out of his southpaw stance, but has vowed that it will be business as usual as he insists he will stand and have a fight with the Welshman rather than boxing and moving.
“During the camp I was convincing myself I was going to box and have an easy win, but the closer it gets to the fight, the more my mental (side) comes out and I just want a war,” he insisted.
“I have a war mindset — I want blood, I want guts. When I get in the ring, I want drama and excitement to please the crowd.
“I could stand there as a 6ft 1in southpaw, stand and box and make it easy, but I’m here to entertain people and give people their money’s worth.
“I feel stronger (moving up to welterweight) as usually my camp is focused on losing weight, but I have been fully focused on boxing in this camp. I don’t feel drained, I feel good and strong so that will be a factor in this fight and you will see a big improvement.”
Jenkins is no stranger to the city having lost out to Philip Sutcliffe back in 2016 at the Waterfront Hall, but it was a happier journey back to Wales three years ago when he edged home in a disputed technical decision against Paddy Gallagher.
The 33-year-old joked that a side battle will be who will come out requiring more stitches given both men’s propensity to cut up, but he is also aware that defeat could leave him with nowhere to go in his career and is determined that will not be the case.
“We’ll put the odds on to see who has the most stitches, but I’ll go with myself,” he said.
“There will be blood and it may be a cliché, but an orthodox against a southpaw will have banged heads. I just hope it goes past four rounds (to avoid a technical draw).
“I’m coming towards the end of my career now and I’ve had some good wins and another one on Saturday, who knows what will be next? It’s not a last hurrah, but the final chapter of a career of ups and downs, so it’s just about doing what I can.”
Tomorrow’s 11-fight card will see a home debut for Lisburn’s Kurt Walker, who faces a major step up against Argentina’s Marcos Gabriel Martinez, while there is an all-Belfast BUI Celtic super-featherweight clash between Colm Murphy and Ruadhan Farrell.
Padraig McCrory takes on Marco Antonio Periban with ‘The Hammer’ on the brink of a major fight should he continue his sparkling run of form, while there is an all-Irish fight between James McGivern and Tony McGlynn, plus the return of Sean McComb as well as Paddy Donovan, Fearghus Quinn, Thomas Carty and Kieran Molloy in action.