Boxing Insider Interview with ‘The Mighty Celt’ Tyrone McKenna
By: Michael Kane
Tyrone McKenna took on Scotland’s Lewis Benson last month in Benson’s home country and came away with a decision win. McKenna and Benson both were coming off of defeats in their previous bouts and this could have been considered must win for both, McKenna won and Benson announced his retirement.
Boxing Insider spoke with the Belfast man, McKenna to find out his thoughts on the fight, what’s next and how his nickname came about.
Did the fight play out as he expected?
“The fight did play out how I expected,” McKenna said. “I knew, because I was fighting in the away corner in his country, I couldn’t afford to sit back, I knew I had to push forward, be the aggressor, to take the rounds and that’s what I did from the start.
“I thought he might have died off in the later rounds but credit to him he stuck in there. I wasn’t 100 percent delighted with my performance I knew there was a lot more that I could have done but felt a bit flat that night from round 1. Even though feeling flat, I was still the one going forward, pressuring the fight and landing the bigger more telling shots he never really troubled me in the fight and I was never worried.”
Immediately after the closely fought fight, Benson was clearly disappointed with the decision and stated he was finished with the sport. Recently it appears he wants a rematch. However McKenna is not convinced by that proposal.
“Yeah, I seen he was asking for a rematch but no I beat him in his home country, he’s got two loses on the trot, he’s way down the rankings, he has no belts, he isn’t a big name, he isn’t a big draw! So he doesn’t bring anything to the table, it’s not something i’m remotely interested in looking to the future.” McKenna stated.
McKenna is part of a generation of Irish boxers where big things are expected and having came through the ranks with the likes of Olympians, Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes and European champion Tyrone McCullagh, McKenna says they are still close and he’s looking forward to a few of them fighting this weekend in Manchester, when possibly the highest profile boxer that emerged as part of that group, Carl Frampton bids to regain another world championship.
“Yeah, myself, Carl, Mick, Tommy McCarthy, Paddy and Tyrone all grew up on the Irish Elite team together and travelled the world with a few of them. They are some of my best mates not only in boxing but outside too.”
How does McKenna see his friends fare this weekend?
“Well Paddy has a routine win working his way back into world title contention, so he’s out to show his class and show he belongs with the top fighters in the world.” McKenna said. “Mick is going to put on a masterclass on Saturday. I believe his opponent suits his style and will make him look really good. And of course Carl, people are saying its a tight fight and will be close but I believe Carl will be too strong and finish the job within 8 rounds.”
McKenna’s nickname is the Mighty Celt, which hailing from Ireland might be expected however he took the name as he started in a movie with Robert Carlyle and Gillian Anderson called ‘The Mighty Celt’.
How did his part in the movie come about?
McKenna explains, “Well it was just really by chance, I never had really pursued acting. Casting directors came to every school in Belfast basically and told everyone to come down to audition, so around 3000 kids went for the role and I only went down because my friends were going. After six or seven auditions I finally landed the lead role, haha.
“Boxing was always my main passion, although I loved acting, I know it will always be there after boxing and boxing is a short lived career.”
Where does McKenna see himself this time next year?
“I hope to have picked up a few belts at least and be in a few major fights. I see Joe Hughes won that EBU title, I’d love a crack at that. Hopefully by the end of the year be in with a shot at a world title eliminator or even world title shot.”
What inspires McKenna?
“My biggest inspiration isn’t really a person but being able to give back to the sport, the way fighters before have given back like Carl Frampton, that inspires me to train harder and make it!”
Boxing Insider Interview with Tyrone McCullagh: European Titlist with Eyes on a World
By: Michael Kane
Tyrone McCullagh is a slick, awkward boxer from Derry, Ireland. He won the WBO European title last month in Belfast. McCullagh (12-0, 6 KOs) put on a great performance to beat English Champion Josh Kennedy for the belt.
Boxing Insider caught up with Tyrone to discuss his recent wins, rejecting the chance to fight for a British title and more.
If you have never watched McCullagh fight, I would advise you to check him out. He fights with a style not often seen, similar in a way to Naseem Hamed, hands down at times, using his quick movement and agility to keep out of range, then peppers his opponent in quick bursts.
Photo Credit: MTK Global Facebook Page
This is exactly what he done to win the WBO European title and as the fight went on you could see Josh Kennedy become more frustrated by each passing round.
How did McCullagh feel about his performance?
“I was delighted with it,” he said, ” I’m usually a bit over critical with myself when I look back at fights but I don’t think I lost a round. That one judge who had it 96-94, I really don’t know, he must have been a relation of Josh and he still couldn’t give it to him! My coaches and the rest of my team were happy and that’s the main thing.”
Did McCullagh expect to be so dominant in the fight?
“Yeah, I always knew I was the better boxer and I just needed to perform on the night and I’d be ok. I knew he was going to come walking forward and I wouldn’t have to go looking. I just boxed and moved and listened to my corner.”
The fight in October was McCullagh’s second title fight in a row, having defeated Scotland’s Joe Ham to win the Celtic title, in what was also a British Eliminator.
However McCullagh is not interested in fighting for a British title, coming as he does from Northern Ireland, the people there can decide to be British, Irish or citizens of both.
McCullagh explains, “Nope not at all, I am Irish, I’m not British, why would I fight for a British title? I’ve turned it down twice this year.”
He continues to say, “What I will say is that it’s nothing against the British people. I have good friends in Britain but it’s my beliefs no one else’s, and if people choose not to respect that them so be it.”
Having had a taste of picking up titles, McCullagh wants to get more, with a world title the aim.
“I want a world title, obviously not in my next fight but soon. I’ve had a great year and I’m going to build on that next year.
“I believe I can win a world title and I think I’ll be in a position to fight for one this time next year.”
McCullagh is also a trained nurse does he still find the time to do some shifts?
McCullagh said, “Not as much, it’s had to take a back seat this year. I’ve had two 10 week training camps back to back for my two title fights this year and it’s just too much to ask to work on top of that. I try and squeeze the odd shift here and there but it’s few and far between. Nursing will always be there for me after boxing and will always have a place in my heart.”
When asked who has been his biggest influence, McCullagh was quick to answer.
“My dad. He’s helped me from day one, drove me all over the country. He’s given me whatever money I’ve needed for trips and competitions when I was younger. He took me training every night, which was a 60 mile round trip and been to all my fights.”
So what was it that made McCullagh take up boxing to start with?
He said, “I was a fat kid when I was younger and needed to lose weight. I’m still a fat kid at heart but I have to limit how often he gets out but when he does he makes the most of it!”
Kermit Cintron KO’d by Tyrone Brunson at 2300 Arena in Philly Saturday!
Kermit Cintron KO’d by Tyrone Brunson at 2300 Arena in Philly Saturday!
By: Ken Hissner
King’s Promotions returned to the 2300 Arena, in South Philly Saturday night with a 9 bout card. In the Main Event former IBF welterweight champion Kermit Cintron, of Reading and Tyrone Brunson of Philly went head to head with Bronson pulling out a come from behind win.
In the Main Event the former IBF welterweight champion Kermit Cintron, 39-6-3 (30), of Reading, PA, was upset by Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson, 25-6-2 (23), Philly, PA, dropping him 3 times in the fifth to claim the PA state super welterweight title at 1:21.
In the first round Cintron is doing all the fighting jabbing and going to the body with both hands. Brunson barely landed a punch. In the second round Brunson continues showing too much respect for Cintron. Suddenly a left hook to the chin from Brunson buckled the knees of Cintron. In the third round Cintron continued to control what little action there was ending the round with a left hook to the chin of Brunson.
In the fourth round Brunson countered a missed right from Cintron with a right of his own on Cintron’s chin. A Brunson left hook to the chin of Cintron stopped him in his tracks. Cintron bleeding from the nose dropped Brunson with a left hook to the chin. Cintron jumped on Brunson dropping him with another left hook to the chin.
In the fifth round a double right from Brunson to the chin of Cintron dropped him. After taking the count from referee Clark Brunson again dropped Cintron twice more causing referee Shawn Clark to call a halt.
“I’m a slow starter but hurt him and knew I couldn’t play with him. When I fell on top of him I knew he was ready to go,” said Brunson.
In the co-feature lightweight Anthony “Bad Boy” Burgin, 10-4 (2), Philly, came off the floor in a hard fought loss to Victor “El Flaco” Vasquez, 8-3 (3), of Yonkers, NY, over 6 rounds.
In the first round Vasquez outworked Burgin. In the second round a pair of left uppercuts to the chin by Vasquez dropped Burgin to his knees face down. He beat the count of referee Benjy Esteves, Jr., just before the round ended. In the third round Vasquez landed five unanswered punches to the head of Burgin. It was all Vasquez in the round.
In the fourth round Vasquez walked into a pair of rights to the head from Burgin. A 3-punch combination from Vasquez having Burgin on the ropes seemed to wake him up but too little too late. In the fifth round Vasquez missed a combination and Burgin countered with a right to the chin. A Burgin right and left on the chin of Vasquez got his attention. They exchanged left hooks to the head. In the sixth and final round they exchanged double uppercuts to the chin. Vasquez was bleeding from the nose and Burgin from the mouth. It was the best round of the fight!
Judge Braswell had it 57-56 while judges Carter and Weisfeld 58-55 with this writer having it 59-54 for the winner.
Bantamweight Marcus “Dream Crusher” Bates, 7-0-1 (6), D.C., won a hard fought 6 rounder from Roberto “Escorpion” Pucheta, 10-11-1 (6), Jalisco, MEX.
In the first round Pucheta rocked Bates with a right to the chin and had Bates on the run. In the second round Bates landed a pair of solid rights to the ribs of Pucheta who positioned his body leaving it wide open but came back with a solid left hook to the head of Bates. In the second round it was more of the same but in the third Bates had Pucheta’s nose bleeding being more aggressive.
In the fourth round things really heated up with both teeing off on one another and talking to each other by the end of the round. In the fifth round a counter left by Bates to the head of Pucheta with just ten seconds before the bell dropped Pucheta who took the 8 count from referee Clark. In the sixth round a Pucheta right to the chin of Bates had him holding on.
Judge Steve Weisfeld had it 59-54, Lynne Carter and Dave Braswell 58-55 and this writer 57-56 for the winner.
Lightweight southpaw Jerome “The Conqueror” Conquest, 8-2 (1), Philly, came off the floor to defeat South Korean Jae Ho Kim, 6-4-1 (2), of Philly, over 6 rounds.
In the opening round Kim came right out landing a hard right to the midsection of Conquest. Conquest came back with a flurry of punches having Kim back on his heels. In the second round Kim kept coming forward but the defense of Conquest had him missing while getting countered to the head. In the third round a straight right by Kim to the chin of Conquest put him on his butt smiling taking an 8 count from referee Esteves. Conquest got on his bike trying to stay out of trouble until his head cleared.
In the fourth round Conquest stopped on occasions fighting it out with the ever aggressive Kim. In the fifth round it was almost to close to call. In the sixth and final round neither went all out in a close fight to close out with the win.
Judge Weisfeld had it 57-56, Carter 58-55 and Page 59-54 with this writer 57-56 all for the winner.
Lightweight Steven Ortiz, 7-0 (2), Philly, remained unbeaten in an exciting win over southpaw Tyrome Jones, 4-1 (1), South Bend, IN, over 6 rounds.
In the first round Ortiz held a slight edge using his jab against the southpaw Jones. In the second round Ortiz is throwing nothing but power punches but leaving himself wide open when throwing a lead uppercut which usually missed the mark. A lead left from Jones found its mark on the chin of Ortiz who landed a combination of his own. Seconds later Ortiz dropped Jones with a right to the chin. Referee Clark administered the 8-count to Jones who got up fighting back.
In the fourth round Ortiz gets warned for the third time about low punches. Jones landed a solid left hook to the head of Ortiz who countered with a straight right to the chin dropping Jones again. He took the 8-count from referee Clark but came fighting back. In the fifth round of a real slugfest Jones landed a straight left to the head of Ortiz who came firing back. This fight woke the crowd up. In the sixth and final round a counter left by Jones landed solidly on the chin of Ortiz who continued throwing bombs. His fans were supporting him big time.
Judge Braswell had it 57-56, Weisfeld and Page 59-53 with this writer 58-55 for the winner.
Middleweight Gregory Clark, 3-1-1 (1), D.C., won a lack luster fight over Darryl “Dream King” Bunting, 3-2-2 (1), Asbury Park, NJ, over 6 rounds.
In the first round it was close with Bunting the aggressor while Clark was the taller and getting away with right uppercuts to the chin. In the second and third rounds Bunting kept chasing with both landing their punches in a close fight.
In the fourth round Bunting’s pressure finally paid off. Clark looked somewhat tired. In the fifth Clark ran with his hands down never throwing an effective punch while Bunting continued the “hunt”! In the sixth and final round Clark continued the track meet with Bunting once again getting more punches in.
Judge Braswell had it 58-56 while Page and Weisfeld 59-55 for the winner but this writer had it 58-56 for the loser.
Heavyweight Colby “Braveheart” Madison, 4-0-1 (3), Baltimore, MD, and Joel Caudle, 7-0-1 (5), Raleigh, NC, ended in a majority draw.
In the first round Madison landed a solid left hook to the chin of Caudle. This didn’t stop Caudle who was much shorter from taking it to Caudle having him trapped in a neutral corner at the bell. In the second and third rounds Caudle had Madison pinned against the ropes swarming all over him. In the fourth and final round Caudle was finally using his height and reach using his jab and solid counter rights to the head of Madison who may have punched himself out after three rounds. Then Caudle allowed himself to back into the ropes being caught by a good left hook to the head by Peters.
In the fifth round Caudle once again had Madison against the ropes landing uppercuts and overhand rights to the chin and head of Madison. On several occasions Madison landed a left hook to the side of the head of Caudle. Just prior to the bell Caudle landed a solid left hook to the head of Madison who countered with a chopping right to the head of Caudle. In the sixth and final round Madison used his jab and counter right to the head of Caudle who was looking exhausted but never stopped trying.
Judge Page had it 58-56 Caudle while Weisfeld, Carter and this writer had it 57-57.
Super middleweight Brandon “B-Rob”Robinson, 4-1 (3), Upper Darby, PA, stopped Rafael “El Toro” Valencia, 3-8-1 (2), Medford, ORE, at 2:48 of the second round.
In the first round Robinson controlled though Valencia stayed in there. In the second round Robinson did an assault on the body of Valencia who complained of low blows and got a rest by referee Clark. A right hand and left hook to the chin by Robinson dropped Valencia. Upon rising referee Clark saw enough and called a halt.
In the opening bout super bantamweight Chaise “Pretty Boy” Nelson, 6-1 (3), Dayton, OH, survived the final round to edge out Jordan Peters, 2-1-1 (2), of D.C., over 4 rounds.
In the first round after a slow start Peters nailed Nelson with a right to the head in Nelson’s corner. Nelson came back with a combination to the chin of Peters. In the second and third rounds Peters chased Chaise who countered well. In the fourth round seemingly behind Peters put the pressure on having his best round. He had Nelson holding on. Peters rocked Nelson on several occasions. Nelson landed a solid left hook to the head of Peters at the bell.
All 3 judges Carter, Weisfeld and Page along with this writer had it 39-37 for the winner.
Big Time Main Event with Cintron vs. Brunson in Philly Saturday!
Big Time Main Event with Cintron vs Brunson in Philly Saturday!
By: Ken Hissner
There was a Tuesday night press conference at the 2300 Arena where former world IBF champion Kermit Cintron meets Philly’s Tyrone Brunson Saturday night at the 2300 Arena with a bang-up undercard.
Kings Promotions CEO Marshall Kauffman was at the mic “this main event should be on television. We have two hard hitting fighters in former IBF champion Kermit Cintron, 39-5-3 (30) of Reading, PA, and Tyrone Brunson, 24-6-2 (22), of Philly fighting for the PA Super welterweight title Saturday,” said Kauffman.
He went on to talk about how competitive the undercard is with Anthony Burgin 10-3 vs Victor Vasquez 7-3; Marcus Bates 6-0-1 vs Roberto Pucheta 10-11-1; Jerome Conquest, 7-2 vs Jae Ho Kim, 6-3-1, Steven Ortiz 6-0 vs Tyrone Jones 4-0; Gregory Clark 2-1-1 vs Darryl Bunting 3-1-2; Colby Madison 4-0 vs Joel Caudle 7-0; Brandon Robinson 3-1 vs Rafael Valencia 3-7-1; Chaise Nelson 5-1 vs Jordan Peters 2-0-1; Nick Valliere 5-2 vs Randy Hedderick 2-7-1.
“The winner of the main event will move into the IBF’s top 15 at super welterweight,” said Kauffman.Trainer of Cintron Joe Pastore said “Kermit did this before working back to top. Everyone in boxing takes a risk when they enter the ring.” Brunson said “Thank God. I’ve been in training camp for 7 weeks. We sparred once and the winner Saturday will be from Philly.” Cintron chimed in “he’s a big puncher. I’ll do the job I’m supposed to do and come out the winner.”
Doors open 6:30pm and first bout 7:00pm.
Tyrone Brunson Wins split decision over Brandon Quarles in Philly Saturday!
Tyrone Brunson Wins split decision over Brandon Quarles in Philly Saturday!
By: Ken Hissner
Kings Promotions had a packed house at the SugarHouse Casino Saturday with a good under card with the co-feature and main event falling short of expectations. The fans seemed to enjoy the action overall
In the main event middleweight Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson, 24-6-2 (22), of Philly, took a mauling split decision over Brandon “The Bulldog” Quarles, 18-4-1 (9), of Alexandria, VA, over 8 dull rounds.
In the opening round there wasn’t much action but seemed Quarles did the most work. In the second round Quarles had Brunson on the ropes and then would get tied up by Brunson. In the third round it was more of the same and not until seconds to go in the round did referee Steve “SS” Smoger called time so Brunson’s corner would put his mouthpiece in. In the fourth round Brunson got his best punch of the night in with a left hook to the chin of Quarles who would come back and do the same to Brunson.
In the fifth round Brunson started throwing bombs having Quarles in a defensive mode. Then by the end of the round it was Quarles out punching Brunson for the first real fighting round of the fight. In the sixth round Brunson put some punches together in one of the better rounds of this fight. In the seventh round it was Brunson holding on. Halfway through the round they decided to start fighting again. Brunson had a welt under his left eye as Quarles seemed to get the better of the mix. In the eighth and final round Brunson started moving around and clowning like he had the fight won. Then they started fighting ending a not so good bout.
Judges had it 77-75 for each boxer with the final judge 78-74 for Brunson. This writer had it 77-75 for Quarles.
In the co-feature super lightweight David “Two Gunz” Gonzales, 8-2-2 (2), of Philly, lost a split decision to Juan Rodriguez, 7-6-1 (5), of Haymarket, VA, due to point take from him over six rounds. This was more of a wrestling match thanks to Rodriguez.
In the opening round Gonzales used and effective double jab while Rodriguez would land a punch and immediately tie up Gonzales. Referee Eric Dali warned him for continuous holding. In the second round Gonzales was very frustrated with the holding from Rodriguez and threw little while Rodriguez would continue to land a punch and grab Gonzales. In the third round an overhand right by Rodriguez had Gonzales holding and receiving a warning from referee Dali. Rodriguez bull rushed Gonzales and almost pushed him out of the ring.
In the fifth round it’s turned into a UFC match with both holding. Gonzales finally got in a flurry of punches. In the sixth and last round of a wrestling match referee Dali surprised by taking a point from Gonzales not Rodriguez.
Judge’s had it 57-56 for both with the final vote 58-55 for Rodriguez. This writer had it 57-56 for Rodriguez due to the point taken from Gonzales.
Lightweight southpaw “Mighty” Mike Fowler, 5-6 (2), Milwaukee, WI, got blown out by southpaw Victor “El Flacco” Vazquez, 7-2 (3), of Yonkers, NY, at 1:38 of the first round.
In the opening round it was all Vasquez who landed a crushing right to the right ear of Fowler who took the count by referee Dali on a knee holding his ear. Vasquez entered the ring in a red superman cape.
Lightweight Carlos “Rock Hands” Rosario, 7-1 (4), of Pennsauken, NJ, scored a technical stoppage at 0:46 of the third round over Lance “Lay Them Down” Williams, 7-8 (7), Muscatine, IA, in the third round of a scheduled six. It was an exciting short lived bout.
In the opening round it was all Rosario going to the body with Williams on the defense. In the second round a lead right by Rosario to the chin of Williams dropped him but he was up immediately and took the 8-count from referee Smoger. Shortly later it was Williams landing a right to the chin of Rosario dropping him. He too was up immediately taking the 8-count from referee Smoger. In the third round Rosario came right out landing a smashing right to the chin of Williams and down he went. He beat the count but was in no condition to continue. Referee Smoger waved it off.
Welterweight southpaw Vincent Floyd, 2-2-1 (0), of Philly, stopped Blaine “Styles” Donkor, 0-1 (0), Wash DC, at 1:35 of the second round.
In the opening round Floyd went right after Donkor having him on the ropes for both the first round. In the second round he had Donkor out on his feet against the ropes when referee Smoger wisely called a halt.
Light heavyweight Brandon “Brob” Robinson, 2-1 (1), of Upper Darby, PA, scored a knockdown in shutting out southpaw Lamont McLaughlin, 0-1 (0), of Philly, in a very exciting 4.
In the opening round both fighters to the delight of the fans went at each other. The round went back and forth with southpaw McLaughlin possibly holding an edge. In the second round a lead right by Robinson stopped McLaughlin in his tracks. A left hook by Robinson knocked McLaughlin back several steps into a corner. Both exchanged punches one after the other to the chin. The fans were on their feet for this two.
In the third round Robinson has McLaughlin against the ropes with both throwing punches. Robinson had McLaughlin in a corner with little in return. Considering both are in their debut the fans are treating this like it’s the main event. In the fourth and final round a combination from Robinson dropped McLaughlin who was up immediately as referee Dali gave him the 8-count. McLaughlin came forward and walked right into a left hook. McLaughlin came back and rocked Robinson with a lead left to the chin. The fans sure enjoyed this one.
All 3 judges had it 40-35 while this writer had it 39-36.
Cruiserweight southpaw Sam Orapeza, 1-0 (0), of Philly, landed a vicious left to the chin of Joe Parkinson, 0-1 (0), of Philly, knocking him out before he hit the canvas at 0:35 of the first round for about 5 minutes before the EMT revived Parkinson. Referee Smoger immediately called it a knockout.
In the opening bout of the night super middleweight Sharif “Bam Bam” Jones, 0-1-1 (0), Philly, was lucky to get a draw with southpaw Edward “The Hunter” Ortiz, 3-0-1-1, (0), San Antonio, TX, over 4 rounds.
Talk about a feeling out round this was it. In the second round Ortiz worked the body of Jones having him against the ropes. Jones landed a nice 3-punch combination just prior to the bell. In the third round a fight broke out. Ortiz kept Jones on the ropes mostly going to the body except on one occasion a lead left from the southpaw rocked Jones on the chin. In the fourth and final round Ortiz had Jones out on his feet. Jones kept trying to hold to get through the round. Referee Dail warned him on this.
Judge Frisca had it 39-37 Ortiz, Judges Carter and Rubenstein 38-38. This writer had it 40-36 for Ortiz. The fans were not happy with out of towner Ortiz not getting the decision.
Kings will be having a big event per ring announcer Alex Barbosa on March 17th in Reading with Travis “My Time” Kauffman taking on Amir “Hardcore” Mansour.