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McKenna eyeing golden prize before world bid

 

On course: Tyrone McKenna eying world title next year
On course: Tyrone McKenna eying world title next year
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Tyrone McKenna says he is dreaming of a world title shot in 2020 - once he goes all the way in the light-welterweight Golden Contract tournament.

The Belfast man demonstrated a new maturity as he outboxed Mikey Sakyi over 10 rounds at the York Hall to retain his WBC international title in their Golden Contract quarter-final.

While McKenna knows he will have harder tests ahead, the manner of the victory on Friday night - winning 100-90, 100-90, 99-91 - showed why he will be hard to stop as the tall southpaw looks ahead to the semi-finals in March.

Jeff Ofori, Mohamed Mimoune and Ohara Davies also picked up wins to book their spot in the final four.

"I boxed to instructions and I made life easy for myself instead of getting into a war like I would have been before,"said McKenna, who admitted he was hurt in the third round by a left hand to the body. "It's taken a while but maybe I've finally come of age as a professional fighter.

"Sakyi is known to be heavy handed and he was trying to set traps to catch me and he did catch me with a good shot but that just made me focus even more on my boxing.

"When I look at the other three guys in the semi-finals I don't fear any of them and for me it's about being smart and going all the way to the final, win the tournament and then I should be at point where I could go straight for a world title shot or be one big fight away from it.

"I can look forward to enjoying my Christmas dinner and then get back into training for the semi-finals. It's going to be an exciting 2020 for me.

"When you're 6ft 1' you should be making life hard for your opponents but sometimes I like the drama too much - I need to make sure I leave the drama behind and stick to my boxing."

Fellow Belfast man James Tennyson is also looking forward to significant opportunities in the new year following his 11th round stoppage of Welshman Craig Evans in their British lightweight title eliminator at Liverpool's Echo Arena on Saturday night.

Hard hitting Tennyson had Evans on the floor in the opening round and bossed the next couple of rounds. Evans then regrouped and stole a few rounds with his tidy boxing but the power and relentless aggression of Tennyson paid off and he unloaded more heavy artillery to bring about the stoppage.

Tennyson is now hoping to go on and fight for the British title in the first quarter of 2020. In the main event, Callum Smith retained his WBA super-middleweight title with a wide points win over John Ryder, which many thought was harsh on the challenger.

√ Deontay Wilder is looking forward to his rematch with Tyson Fury after retaining his WBC world heavyweight title with victory over Luis Ortiz in Las Vegas.

Ortiz was ahead on the judges' scorecards before being caught with a thunderous right hand from Wilder in the seventh round and the 40-year-old was unable to beat the count.

"I tell people all the time my intellect is very high in the ring so I know exactly what I'm doing," Wilder (34) said.

"I had to calculate Ortiz perfectly, he's very dangerous as you can see, that's why no other heavyweight wanted to give him the opportunity. He's very smart

"Once I got him I set him up and that was the shot. I always say these guys have to be perfect for 12 rounds, I only have to be perfect for two seconds and each and every time I've proved that.

"Tyson Fury is definitely next and then after that I want a unification bout with whoever wins between (Anthony) Joshua and (Andy) Ruiz Jr."

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