Chris Jenkins came back from the second knockout defeat of his career Saturday night and thought he had pulled off an upset in his opponent’s hometown.
When the scorecards were read, however, Belfast’s Tyrone McKenna was announced as the winner by unanimous decision over the tough Welshman in their 10-round welterweight fight on the Michael Conlan-Miguel Marriaga undercard at The SSE Arena Belfast. Judges John Latham (96-95), Victor Loughlin (97-94) and Mark Lyson (96-95) all scored their fan-friendly battle for McKenna (23-3-1, 6 KOs), who entered the ring as a 6-1 favorite, according to Caesars Sportsbook.
Jenkins nevertheless performed well during his first fight since his fourth-round, technical-knockout loss to Florian Marku (11-0-1, 7 KOs) on April 2 in Newcastle, England. The 33-year-old Jenkins (23-6-3, 8 KOs) is 1-3-1 in his past five fights.
McKenna, meanwhile, bounced back from a sixth-round TKO loss to former WBA super lightweight champion Regis Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs) on March 19 in Dubai.
Jenkins was the aggressor throughout their bout and landed various flush punches to McKenna’s body and head. Neither fighter could hurt his opponent, though, which made it apparent in the later rounds that they would go the distance.
Jenkins unloaded head and body shots on McKenna, which made McKenna hold him about a minute into the 10th round. Jenkins’ feet went out from under him after McKenna connected with a left hook with just under 1:20 to go in the final round.
Jenkins landed a right hand and then a left hook as McKenna moved toward the ropes late in the ninth round. McKenna and Jenkins were warned for fouls with just under 45 seconds to go in the ninth round.
McKenna caught Jenkins with a straight left hand 40 seconds into the eighth round. McKenna moved for much of the eighth round, but Jenkins clipped him with a left hook with 15 seconds on the clock in the eighth round.
Jenkins snuck a right uppercut between McKenna’s gloves a few seconds after the halfway point of the seventh round. Jenkins then landed two left hands that made McKenna hold him with just under 50 seconds to go in the seventh round.
Jenkins nailed McKenna with a right hand with just under 35 seconds on the clock in the sixth round. The visiting fighter made McKenna fight off his back foot for most of the sixth round, when a fatigued McKenna mostly fought with his hands down and allowed Jenkins to out-work him.
McKenna caught Jenkins with a right hook that made him reset his feet barely 45 seconds into the fifth round.
A right-left combination by McKenna knocked Jenkins off balance just before the halfway point of the fourth round. Jenkins and McKenna slugged it out on the inside during an action-packed final minute of the fourth round.
Jenkins continually went after McKenna’s body during the third round.
McKenna took various flush punches in the first two minutes of the second round, when Jenkins pressured him. But McKenna nailed Jenkins with a left hand that made him move backward with just over a minute to go in the second round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.