Conversation is over ahead of tomorrow’s epic night of boxing at the SSE Arena with Michael Conlan and Miguel Marriaga confident in their victory to take them back to the world champion roster.
The relationship between the pair is clear as they both know the scale of the challenge ahead in the close to sold out arena for the main event, in which Conlan will be looking to leave March’s world title defeat to Lee Wood behind him, but the main support is the meeting of two men also eager back on the winning path.
Tyrone McKenna and Chris Jenkins meet, coming back from losses to Regis Prograis and Florian Marco respectively, at a crossroads where the winner moves forward and the loser is left with a decision to make.
McKenna is moving up to welterweight, having competed in the 140-pound weight class in the past, and both fighters who are known for cutting in fights predict that the blue canvas of the ring will turn red by the time they finish the fight.
Despite moving up to the 147lb division, the Belfastian will still have significant advantages in terms of height and reach from the left-handed stance, but has vowed it will be business as usual as he insists he will stand and fight lefty. Welsh, not boxing and movement.
“During the camp, I convinced myself that I would box and win an easy victory, but the closer the fight, the more my mental side shows up, and I just want war,” he insisted.
“I have a military mindset – I want blood, I want guts. When I enter the ring, I want drama and excitement to please the audience.
“I could stand there as a 6ft 1 lefty and stand and box and do it easily, but I’m here to entertain people and give people their money.
“I feel stronger (moving up to welterweight) as usually my camp is focused on losing weight, but in this camp I was completely focused on boxing. I don’t feel exhausted, I feel good and strong, so that will be a factor in this fight and you will see a big improvement.”
Jenkins is no stranger to the city, losing to Philip Sutcliffe back in 2016 at the Waterfront Hall, but it was a happier return to Wales three years ago when he won at home in a controversial technical decision against Paddy Gallagher.
The 33-year-old joked that the side battle would be who comes out for needing more stitches given both men’s propensity for cuts, but he is also aware that defeat could leave him in his career and he is determined to be not this way.
“We’ll bet the odds to see who has more stitches, but I’ll go with me,” he said.
“There will be blood, and it might be a cliché, but orthodox against left-handers will bang their heads. I just hope he goes over four rounds (to avoid a technical draw).
“Now I am nearing the end of my career, I had some good wins and another on Saturday, who knows what will happen next? This is not the last hurray, but the last chapter of a career full of ups and downs, so I’m just doing what I can.”
Tomorrow’s 11-fight card will mark the home debut for Lisburne’s Kurt Walker, who is set to take a major step forward against Argentina’s Marcos Gabriel Martinez, while the BUI Celtic Featherweight bout between Colm Murphy and Ruadan Farrell takes place in Belfast.
Padraig McCrory will face Marco Antonio Periban with The Hammer on the verge of a serious fight if he continues his brilliant form while an All-Ireland bout takes place between James McGivern and Tony McGlynn as well as the return of Sean McComb as well as Paddy Donovan, Fergus Quinn, Thomas Carty and Kieran Molloy in action.