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'He changed everything': Tyrone McKenna explains Carl Frampton's impact on Irish professional boxing

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Tyrone McKenna has been discussing the impact Carl Frampton has had on Irish professional boxing.

Tyrone McKenna has been discussing the impact Carl Frampton has had on Irish professional boxing.

Tyrone McKenna has been discussing the impact Carl Frampton has had on Irish professional boxing.

Tyrone McKenna says Carl Frampton will continue to be an inspiration to him as he seeks to fulfil his own dreams in the ring.

McKenna was ringside in Dubai last Saturday night when Frampton's career came to an end after a sixth-round defeat to WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring. Stopped for the first time in his career, the Jackal was a shadow of the man who rose to win world titles at super-bantam and featherweight.

McKenna should have been in the main supporting bout but on the morning of his scheduled WBO intercontinental light-welterweight title fight he was informed that opponent Zhankosh Turarov had tested positive for Covid-19.

Manager Jamie Conlan expects to have the Belfast man out again within six weeks, while the fight with Turarov could still happen down the line.

McKenna said: "Carl didn't look like the same person. It just shows you that overnight things can totally change. One day you feel great and then you just don't have it any more. It's the natural thing in boxing and you hope it is later rather than sooner. But Carl has had a career that 99% of fighters don't have - selling out 16,000 for his first world title win, taking 10,000 to Manchester… amazing.

"I think everyone is inspired by Carl and what he has done is what everyone wants. Irish professional boxing would not be as massive as it is now if it had not been for Carl.

"We had good fighters before Carl but he changed everything. That's why you have 18 and 19-year-olds turning pro, because they have seen what is possible because of what Carl has done throughout his career. It's not that Carl was some invincible amateur, he wasn't even the best on the Irish team, but he went on to make history.

"He's an inspiration to me. I want to be a world champion and when I look at his dedication, his drive and determination, the professionalism, that is an inspiration to me to keep going and do all that I can to be a world champion.

"Even in fights where he faced adversity, Carl came through, such as the one in El Paso when he was on the floor twice early on and then came back to win convincingly against Alejandro Gonzalez. Generations to come will all know about Carl Frampton and he will continue to be an inspiration."

McKenna believes that victory in a WBO intercontinental title fight would propel him into a great position in light of next month's mouth-watering world title unification clash between Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez. All four belts will be on the line in what could be one of the fights of the year.

McKenna added: "Taylor and Ramirez have both said that they will move up a weight after their fight. Taylor wants to have some super-fights at welterweight. That means that the WBO title as well as the other three will be vacant. So, I want to get this intercontinental title in my next fight because that will put me in the top 10 right away and in the mix for a title shot.

"Jack Catterall is the No.1 challenger and he has to be given a shot straight after Taylor and Ramirez. Maybe he would fancy a rematch with me because I know I would. He beat me the first time but there wasn't much in it at the end.

"My plan has always been to fight for a world title this year and that hasn't changed. I was gutted not to fight last weekend but I'm in great shape and I'm ready to go when a date is sorted."


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