I want blood, guts and drama, vows Tyrone McKenna ahead of duel with Chris Jenkins on Michael Conlan undercard

The conversation is now closed ahead of the big boxing night at the SSE Arena tomorrow, with Michael Conlan and Miguel Marriaga both feeling calm about victory, which would put them right back in the world title mix.

The tension between the two is evident as they both know the magnitude of the task ahead in the near-sold-out arena for the main event, where Conlan will be aiming to put March’s world title loss to Leigh Wood behind, but main support is a meeting between two men who are also looking to get back on the road to success.

Tyrone McKenna and Chris Jenkins meet as they return from losses to Regis Prograis and Florian Marku, respectively, at a crossroads where the winner moves on and the vanquished must make a decision.


Kurt Walker will make his home debut at the SSE Arena

McKenna is moving up to welterweight after fighting at 140 pounds in the past, and both men, who are known for cutting themselves in fights, predict the blue ring canvas will turn red when they finish.

Despite being promoted to the 147-pound division, the Belfast man will still have significant size and reach advantages from his southpaw stance but has vowed it will be business as usual as he insists he can stand and will lead a fight with the Welsh instead of boxing and moving.

“During camp I told myself I would box and win easily, but as the fight gets closer my mental[side]comes out and I just want a war,” he said.

“I have a war mentality – I want blood, I want guts. When I step into the ring I want drama and excitement to please the audience.

“I could stand there as a 6ft 1in left-hander, stand and box and just do it, but I’m here to entertain people and give people their value.

“I feel stronger (at welterweight) as my camp is usually weight loss focused, but I put my full focus on boxing at this camp. I don’t feel drained, I feel good and strong, that’s going to be a factor in this fight and you’re going to see a big improvement.

Jenkins is no stranger to town after losing to Philip Sutcliffe at Waterfront Hall in 2016, but it was a happier trip back to Wales three years ago when he came home to Paddy Gallagher in a controversial technical decision.

The 33-year-old joked it will be a side battle over who will come out and will require more stitches as both men tend to cut each other, but he is also aware that a loss could take him nowhere in his career, and is determined not to do so.

“We’ll up the odds to see who has the most tricks, but I’ll go with myself,” he said.

“There will be blood and it may be cliche, but an Orthodox vs a southpaw will be banging heads. I just hope it goes past four rounds (to avoid a technical tie).

“I’m nearing the end of my career now and I’ve had some good wins and another one on Saturday, who knows what’s next? It’s not a final hurray, it’s the final chapter in a career full of ups and downs, so it’s just about doing what I can.”


Padraig McCrory takes on Marco Antonio Periban

Tomorrow’s 11-fight card will see a home debut for Lisburn’s Kurt Walker, who faces a big move against Argentina’s Marcos Gabriel Martinez, while there’s a BUI Celtic super featherweight bout between Colm Murphy and Ruadhan Farrell taking place only in Belfast .

Padraig McCrory takes on Marco Antonio Periban with ‘The Hammer’ on the brink of a big fight should he continue his sparkling form whilst there is an all Irish match between James McGivern and Tony McGlynn plus the return of Sean McComb as as well as Paddy Donovan, Fearghus Quinn, Thomas Carty and Kieran Molloy in action. I want blood, guts and drama, vows Tyrone McKenna ahead of duel with Chris Jenkins on Michael Conlan undercard

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