By Tim Kudgis
"Belfast bred, Philly Based" describes the career of young Irish boxing prospect Tyrone "The Beast" McKenna. McKenna made the decision to move from Belfast, Ireland to Philadelphia, PA to start his career under the guidance of manager Tom Moran and his "Green Blood" stable.
McKenna, who had both his pro fights in the US, will be returning to the ring tonight in Allentown, PA. This fight will be LIVE around the WORLD on GFL.tv and it will be apart of the card featuring Tevin Farmer vs Carlos Vinan as well as the return of Kassim Ouma.
Boxingscene.com had the chance to catch up with Tyrone to discuss his upcoming fight tonight, his career, moving to Philadelphia, Froch-Groves, ticket sales and much more. He is what he had to say.
Boxingscene.com: How has your training camp been?
Tyrone McKenna: Training camp is good. I have had a new coach for the past couple of months so I have been learning a lot of new things and have been trying them out in the gym.
Boxingscene.com: Who have you been sparring with?
Tyrone McKenna: Loads of different people. I sparred with Jimmy Williams. I sparred with Pooh Ennis and a few different amateurs.
Boxingscene.com: Where are you training?
Tyrone McKenna: I've been training at Bozee's Dungeon.
Boxingscene.com: What inspired your move to the US from Ireland?
Tyrone McKenna: There is not a lot of professional opportunities back how. Fights get cancelled. There is either not enough fighters or the money is not the same as over here. We came over here and joined "Green Blood" so I hope that takes off. There is better training over here. There is better sparring over here., There is better fights and fight money over here. The audience is here also so that is why i came.
Boxingscene.com: Why did you pick Philly specifically?
Tyrone McKenna: Philly is the best place in America. I heard a quote before that "If you can win in Philly you can win anywhere." It is a lot tougher here so it will bring me on a lot also. When we were in contact with Tom Moran and his management and they are based in Philly so it made sense.
Boxingscene.com: Are sparring partners tougher over here or back in the UK?
Tyrone McKenna: The people I am sparring over here would be British contenders if not British champions. It is weird coming over here and your sparring over here with very tough guys, even guys with only a couple fights are top guys. It proves if you come out of here you will be top notch so hopefully that happens.
Boxingscene.com: Do you plan on fighting back home and/or in Philadelphia in 2014?
Tyrone McKenna: Tom Moran wants me to build a reputation in each place. Hopefully next year I will be fighting quite a lot. Hopefully every 5-6 weeks or maybe even every month over here. To build my reputation over there I will probably be fighting 2-3 times a year in Belfast or England but the rest I will be fighting over here to build my reputation.
Boxingscene.com: What does it mean to you this early in your career to fight in front of a worldwide audience on GFL.tv?
Tyrone McKenna: It's great! It is good to help people can back home that they can go on and support me. It helps you to build a fan base quicker. It is a nice way to excel your fan base.
Boxingscene.com: What are thoughts on the Prizefighter tournament?
Tyrone McKenna: It benefits the guys who are not washed up it excels their career, but if you are washed up like most the guys that are winning it doesn't help your career. It helped a guy like Willie Casey, from Ireland, who won the tournament and he got a few big fights out of it.
Boxingscene.com: In the UK is it like here where young prospects have to sell tickets to get fights?
Tyrone McKenna: Yeah. I was going to fight over there and they told me that I would have to sell tickets or I wouldn't be able to get paid and stuff.
Boxingscene.com: What are your thoughts on prospects repeatedly fighting nothing but soft opposition?
Tyrone McKenna: Right now I am fighting this kind of guy (2-10) but in the future I am going to progressing and progressing each fight. I won't be fighting some bum but I will be fighting tougher opposition as we go. If you keep fighting bums you are going to think you are some champion since you are winning all of these fights early. That is going to cause you to get a big head and when you get tested later you won't know what to do.
Boxingscene.com: So you think it hurts the young fighter when this happens?
Tyrone McKenna: Yeah it hurts a fighter. You have to be in tough fights because you need the heart and skill to beat people. When you are in a tough match you have to prove you have what it takes to progress because you haven't been fighting bum. That is why you have to try to fight guys who try to win.
Boxingscene.com: The start of my career hasn't been real bums. The 1st guy was a pro debut and he was tough enough. The 2nd guys was from Philly. His name was Korey Sloane (2-6-2) and he came to fight.
Do you think they should start to give judging jobs to former fighters?
Tyrone McKenna: I think it would be a good thing for boxing. You get a job and your still involved with boxing. You can watch a fight properly unlike the people who never box so you would know what to look for.
Boxingscene.com: What did you think about the stoppage in the Groves-Froch fight?
Tyrone McKenna: I thought Froch was going to wipe the floor with Groves. I had never really respected Groves before that fight. When that 1st knock down happened I could not believe it. Groves just started boxing Froch up. When it got stopped I think it was a bit early but I feel if not that round then the next round the fight would have gotten stopped.
I like America's referees compared to over there because they let the fighters keep fighting instead of stopping it early. The fight should not be stopped until the other fighter can't fight in a title fight. Groves was still swinging when it got stopped. That shouldn't happen.
Boxingscene.com: What can in attendance or watching around the world on GFL.tv expect from you tonight?
Tyrone McKenna: I have been working on new stuff with Bozee so i will be looking to give a boxing lesson. In my last fight i was kind of scrappy trying to knock the guy out so i will be more composed and show I have learned a lot in the past months. Hopefully i land the big shots and get this guy out of there early. I have been learning combinations and such so I hope it shows in the fight.
Tonight, Kassim Ouma will take on Rahman Yousubov (9-12) over the course of 6 rounds in his return to boxing & the Jr. Middleweight division. In the Main event Tevin "American Idol" Farmer will fight for the 7th time in 2013 against battle tested veteran Carlos Vinan (10-11-5). Undefeated Heavyweights Anthony "Jucie" Young (9-0) & Dorsett Barnwell (10-0) will see action also in separate bouts plus much more. Also on the card, "Green Blood" fighters Anthony Cacace & Tyrone McKenna will fight in separate bouts.
The "Irish Fight Party" will be LIVE at 7pm EST from one of the oldest Boxing venues in the Lehigh Valley, the EconoLodge and Conference Center in Allentown, PA. The incredible night of boxing action will be broadcasting LIVE around the WORLD on GFL.tv!
Tickets are on sale now at The EnconoLodge & Conference Center on Route
309 & Route 22 in Allentown, PA or by calling Jay Newman of VIP Fighting
events at 610-392-3482. Prices are:
$20 for General Admission
$35 for Seating
$50 for VIP Ringside seats
For those who can't be in attendance can watch the entire event, from start to finish, LIVE from anywhere in the WORLD on GFL.tv. Order the event once & re watch it for LIFE on GFL OnDemand! Click the link below for more info: