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Tyrone McKenna: 'I think people will come out of this being a lot more courteous to one another'

 

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Tyrone McKenna has won 21 of his 23 professional fights, most recently beating Mohamed Mimoune to successfully defend his WBC International Super Lightweight title for the second time.

Tyrone McKenna has won 21 of his 23 professional fights, most recently beating Mohamed Mimoune to successfully defend his WBC International Super Lightweight title for the second time.

Tyrone McKenna

Tyrone McKenna

Tyrone McKenna's new look

Tyrone McKenna's new look

Tyrone McKenna has won 21 of his 23 professional fights, most recently beating Mohamed Mimoune to successfully defend his WBC International Super Lightweight title for the second time.

We are asking our sporting personalities how they are dealing with action coming to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected their daily lives.

Today, we speak to WBC international light-welterweight champion Tyrone McKenna.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: Well I've been very, very bored. The lockdown has taken its toll because I lost a couple of bets with my mate Tyrone McCullagh so I've had my eyebrows shaved off and some of my hair shaved off. We were playing poker online with a group of people and we had a couple of side bets with each other which he won and I paid the price. My wife got a shock when she came into my man cave and saw a pile of hair lying on the floor.

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Tyrone McKenna's new look

Tyrone McKenna's new look

Tyrone McKenna's new look

 

Q: How have you been affected?

A: I haven't been able to train properly at my camp in Dublin. I had a very big fight lined up against Ohara Davies in the Golden Contract light-welterweight final but that has been put on hold. So, I was annoyed at the start of this whole thing but now I have got more used to this whole situation and it's not too bad overall.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A: I bought a full gym of equipment for the garage, everything from all the strength and conditioning gear to skipping ropes and a boxing bag so that has allowed me to work out and I also bought a road bike. I've been out doing some cycling and going for runs - sometimes with my mate Tommy McCarthy. I've actually been quite surprised with how well I've stuck at the training - I get to work out about two hours a day. Usually when I come home after a fight I get a bit lazy. I've put on a few pounds but that's to be expected because it's hard to stick to the normal diet at this time but I'm quite happy with how I've been training.

Q: How have you been maintaining morale?

A: I've been keeping up morale by entertaining those around me and teaching my kids what not to do as an adult - like shaving off your eyebrows and hair. Every Friday a group of us get together and have a bit of craic on Zoom - sometimes Paddy Barnes and Mick Conlan join us. That has been good for everybody because it is a weird time.

Q: Where are you drawing your personal strength from now?

A: My strength and motivation is mainly coming from the fact that I have signed a contract to face Ohara Davies in the final of the Golden Contract. It's a massive fight, it's one that fans and TV want to see and it's great to know that when the time comes I will be able to train and look ahead to that. If I was in the position of most of the guys, not knowing when, where and against whom they were fighting I've no doubt that my motivation would be a lot worse… I don't think I would have been training at all. I've also enjoyed spending more time with my kids. The Devenish Complex has set up a drive-in cinema and we're going there at the weekend.

Q: Can you recommend a book, film or box set you think stay at home sports fans might like?

A: I would recommend Charles Bukowski's book Ham on Rye and my favourite film is Pan's Labyrinth which is about the Spanish Civil War or you could watch The Mighty Celt. For a box-set I'd recommend The Wire, it's brilliant.

Q: What life lessons have you learned from all this?

A: I know that I appreciate my family even more, the time I can spend with them. We've been going for good long walks, I'm enjoying cooking with my kids - teaching them a few things which I love. I actually feel that this coronavirus has brought us together a lot more. Overall, I think people will come out of this being a lot more courteous towards one another. I've noticed that people are a lot more polite and I hope it stays that way when the lockdown ends. I've also bought a bass guitar and I'm flying at it though my missus gives off because you can hear it throughout the house. Fender have done a three-month course online and it has worked a treat. Tommy McCarthy has bought a lead guitar so we're thinking of forming a band - Whiskey and White!

Q: What is the first thing you will do when this is all over?

A: The first thing I'm going to do is go sky diving with my mate Tyrone McCullagh. There's a place just outside Derry that we're going to do it. I've always been squeamish when it comes to that type of thing but I'm going to go for it. Then I want to get down to Dublin to start training.

Q: And your message to boxing fans?

A: I know they've been starved of entertainment but I'll be back as soon as possible to bring them entertainment when I fight Ohara Davies. I would also hope that maybe people will appreciate sports men and women more than ever because life without sport does leave a big hole, as people have seen.

Belfast Telegraph