Tyrone McKenna triumph points to bigger nights ahead
Tyrone McKenna claimed the WBC International light-welterweight title at the Ulster Hall last night as he came through an absorbing affair against Darragh Foley with a unanimous decision win (98-91, 97-93, 98-91).
The Belfast man tried to park his tendency to get drawn into a scrap, but it wasn't possible against the Australia-based Dubliner, who was in his face throughout.
It was an eighth round knockdown that swung the pendulum decisively towards 'The Mighty Celt'.
With the title, and the world ranking that comes with it, this was a fine evening's work for McKenna, who scored his third win in all-Irish derbies.
The opening round was a rather cagey affair as Foley tried to close the gap on McKenna, whose long southpaw jab was keeping him at bay.
He enjoyed more success in the second, with the heads coming dangerously close, and, indeed, a clash opened a nick over McKenna's left eye.
The rounds continued to be razor-close as Foley forced the pace but McKenna seemed happy to move back and try to tag the Sydney-based fighter.
The west Belfast man landed a good left uppercut towards the end of the fifth but Foley waved him in as the bell sounded.
McKenna's left eye began to ooze blood from another clash as the fight remained highly competitive.
Foley still marched forward but McKenna picked him off well with lefts and then found a tidy combo in the centre of the ring.
Foley finished the round well, but the cleaner work had come from the Belfast man.
McKenna opened the eighth nicely off the jab, but the game-breaker came at the end of the round as Foley charged in with seconds remaining and was caught with a left.
Despite Foley's displeasure, referee Victor Loughlin issued a count although the visitor didn't appear hurt.
Now forced to chase it, McKenna was able to step back and counter, although Foley's aggressive style was making it an uncomfortable time for the home boxer and the pair produced an all-action finish.
But it was McKenna who had pulled clear and will now push on.