Tyrone McKenna confident going into WBO inter-continental bout with Zhankosh Turarov

By Niamh CampbellBBC Sport NI
Tyrone McKenna
McKenna has a professional record of 21-2

"I honestly think he's overrated," says Tyrone McKenna of his opponent, Zhankosh Turarov, who he will fight on Saturday for the WBO inter-continental super-lightweight title.

The pair will fight on the main undercard of Carl Frampton and Jamel Herring's WBO super-featherweight world title fight in Dubai.

Belfast boxer McKenna believes that Kazakh Turarov has been "blown up to be the next Gennady Golovkin and he's far from it."

"He does pick nice shots and he's a hard hitter, but other than that, he's fought bums. He's 24-0.

"He's 30 years old and he hasn't had a real fight. This is his first real fight.

"There's obviously a reason why he's avoided real hard fights and why he hasn't fought anyone with quality when he's this late into his career."

'I love being an underdog'

31-year-old McKenna has had the same amounts of fights as Turarov, but with two losses - the most recent coming against Ohara Davies in September last year.

"The bookies have me 3/1 which is a big underdog for boxing. I love that," said the west Belfast fighter.

"I love going out and proving people wrong.

"I feel more pressure when I'm the favourite and everyone expects me to win. When I'm the underdog, I feel I perform better because there is no pressure."

Tyrone McKenna
McKenna was defeated by Ohara Davies last September

The southpaw added that he has changed tactics since losing to Davies and is "a hundred, million percent going to war" in Saturday's bout.

"I don't think he has the stamina in him for a war. I can throw for 10 rounds non-stop and I don't think he can.

"I don't think back-foot boxing gets you the win. I don't think judges score you for how good you are at boxing, even though that's what your job is.

"They like seeing people go to war and that's music to my ears. I love going to war and in this fight that's what I'm going to do. I'm the wide fighter.

"It's not his country, but it's more or less his home show, and I'm going to have to push him and dominate the rounds to get the win.

What's next?

McKenna added that if he comes away with a win, he is aiming for another fight with Jack Catterall, who beat him on a unanimous points decision in 2018.

"Josh Taylor is fighting for all the belts. I believe he's going to win and then go up a weight for a super fight, so I believe there's going to be a lot of belts vacated.

"Jack Caterall is the number one WBO mandatory, so why not fight me in a rematch?

"I'm also highly ranked in WBO so it makes sense. Other than that there's a long list of what could happen. People in America could watch this fight and fancy fighting me."

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