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Tyrone McKenna: I took tougher fight to thrill Falls Park fans against Jose Felix Jnr

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Shout about it: Tyrone McKenna during the Féile Fight Night public workout at Belfast City Hall. Credit: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Shout about it: Tyrone McKenna during the Féile Fight Night public workout at Belfast City Hall. Credit: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Keen eye: Head coach Pete Taylor has been overseeing matters

Keen eye: Head coach Pete Taylor has been overseeing matters

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Shout about it: Tyrone McKenna during the Féile Fight Night public workout at Belfast City Hall. Credit: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Tyrone McKenna has vowed to “go to war” with Jose Felix Jnr tomorrow night at the Falls Park when the pair tangle for the vacant WBO intercontinental light-welterweight title.

At their press conference at the Balmoral Hotel, ‘The Mighty Celt’ serenaded those present with a rendition of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’, but he insisted that won’t be the case in the fight as he intends to meet the 29-year-old Mexican in the centre of the ring and have one of his typical all-action battles.

McKenna was originally due to take on Zhankosh Turarov in a rearranged contest after the Kazakh was forced out of an April meeting in Dubai the day before battle after testing positive for Covid-19, but again the fight failed to materialise with a replacement sought.

McKenna had been offered much more straightforward assignments than the 29-year-old from Los Mochis, who will arrive in Belfast with a record of 39-4-1, but typically he opted for the harder task and believes the fans are in for a treat once the opening bell goes.

“He has 39 wins and 30 KOs - more KOs than I have had fights - and is a tough fighter,” noted the 30-year-old.

“Jamie Conlan, my manager, put two people on the table and asked if I wanted this guy (Felix) or another who had a record of 13-3. I chose what I believe to be the tougher fight because I love entertaining fans.

“I’m going in with the attitude that I’m going to war in front of 8,000 fans against a Mexican who is a come-forward fighter, dangerous and has heavy hands. I think it has the potential to be an epic fight on an epic show.

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“I’m not taking a step back and I believe he will be the same. We all know what Mexicans bring to the table so I am planning to out-Mexican the Mexican.”

It is far from a straightforward assignment tomorrow, but with risk comes reward and a victory will propel him into the WBO’s world rankings where he would be eligible for a shot at the big one in the aftermath.

The west Belfast man has been out of the ring since losing a razor-thin decision to Ohara Davies in the Golden Contract final last September.

That’s not to say he has been sitting idle, as a full camp which was completed ahead of the doomed April date left him sharp and he has continued on under the gaze of head coach Peter Taylor.

McKenna is a man who feeds off the energy of a crowd, so with 8,000 set to be in attendance, he believes that will bring out the best of him.

“I was disappointed that the April fight didn’t happen, but I wouldn’t say it was a complete waste of time because I did have a good camp under my belt,” he reflected.

“I’d usually be buzzing for a fight a few days before, but I have been for weeks in the lead up to this as the fans are back. Belfast fans love a boxing show and because there hasn’t been one in two years, this is going to be even more special.”


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