Three things to watch out for in this weekend’s Belfast, Glasgow cards

Boxing

Two huge fight nights are taking place in the United Kingdom this weekend — both of which are available to be streamed live on ESPN+ in the U.S.

The action starts on Friday, June 21, with Tyrone McKenna’s battle with Darragh Foley in the co-main event of a packed card in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Then on Saturday, June 22, Lee McGregor defends his Commonwealth bantamweight title against Scott Allan in Glasgow, Scotland.

Here are three things to watch out for this weekend.

Irish pride on the line in Belfast

There will be more than just victory at stake when Tyrone McKenna faces Darragh Foley at the Ulster Hall, Belfast on Friday in a super-lightweight fight.

McKenna (18-1-1, 6 KOs), who will be fighting in his home city and will have the backing of the crowd, starts as favourite against Foley, who hails from Dublin, in what could be a classic encounter between two Irish fighters.

A place in the WBC world governing body’s top 15 is also up for grabs in Belfast, moving the victor closer to a shot at the WBC champion Jose Ramirez, of California.

Foley (17-3-1, 9 KOs) is based in Australia and has had most of his recent fights Down Under, although he had a draw and a points defeat in Scotland and England respectively last year.

McKenna is expected to use his height and reach to his advantage and will be fighting at the Ulster Hall for a second time after his win over Oscar Amador in March.

“It’s another Irish derby and I love them, they always get me more pumped up than a normal fight,” McKenna told the Irish News earlier this month.

“There’s a lot at stake, there’s pride and I want to stay king of Ireland, I have been king for the last five years and I want to continue my reign.”

McKenna looking to bounce back

McKenna, who was a child actor and starred alongside Gillian Anderson in the 2005 film The Might Celt, has been involved in some entertaining fights recently and is trying to regain momentum after a unanimous points defeat to England’s Jack Catterall a year ago.

That was McKenna’s first setback as a professional, and the Belfast boxer cannot afford another loss if he is to try and become Northern Ireland’s next world champion after the likes of Carl Frampton and Ryan Burnett.

McKenna rose twice from the canvas during his difficult points defeat to the unbeaten Catterall but insists that he has learned from the experience.

Progressing to the next level might be the long-term goal for McKenna, but for now he has to take care of business on the home front.

McGregor aims to build momentum

Across the Irish Sea on Saturday June 22, Lee McGregor makes a first defence of his Commonwealth bantamweight title against Scott Allan at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, in Scotland, in a fight also shown on ESPN+.

McGregor was only in action a month ago when he outpointed Brett Fidoe on the undercard of fellow Scot Josh Taylor’s victory over Ivan Baranchyk for the IBF super lightweight title at the SSE Hydro, also in Glasgow.

McGregor (6-0, 5 KOs) knocked out Cameroon’s Thomas Essomba for the belt in October and he looked sharp last month, so starts favourite against compatriot Allan (9-3-1, 0 KOs).

“I’m buzzing to get back in the ring so soon after my last fight as this is what I’m in the game for, to be fighting regularly and defending and winning more belts,” McGregor said.

On the same bill, Scotland’s Kieran Smith (14-0, 7 KOs) faces Mexico’s Ivan Montero (21-3, 9 KOs) in a super-welterweight contest.

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