"I'M the king of Belfast," Lewis Crocker roared after his victory over Tyrone McKenna as he claimed the WBA Continental Europe welterweight title in convincing fashion at the SSE Arena on Saturday.

'The Croc' claimed a unanimous decision verdict (100-90, 100-90, 98-92) and the WBA Continental Europe title along with it as he improved to 18-0, handing McKenna his fourth career loss.

It was a night in which Crocker came of age, proving he had the temperament for the big occasion and also to remain composed having thrown everything at McKenna early but unable to budge the West Belfast man.

There have been some crackling atmospheres at the Belfast venue over the years, but given this was a local derby, it was even more special, the noise during the introductions almost deafening.

It was a special night and on in which both men played their full part in during the build up and over the 10 rounds.

"I said in the face-off that I would rather die than lose this fight," Crocker said.

"That's how much it meant to me - this was about pride.

"I said all week I have never been as confident going into a fight. Tyrone said about the experience, but I went out there and had the mindset of a champion. Hopefully there are more big nights like this."

McKenna began by popping out his long southpaw jab, but Crocker was absolutely ruthless in the first three rounds, loading up with heavy fire, varied from body to head and uppercuts when in range.

But that dominance wasn't quite as pronounced in the fourth with McKenna enjoying more success and the fire coming his way not with the same venom as earlier.

Was is a case of having a round off? Well, McKenna was growing in confidence either way and his wish for a fight in the trenches began to emerge with both trading up close. Crocker did sense he had stung him to the ribs, pouring forward in the final seconds of the fifth and whilst well on top, McKenna was quite out of it either.

There was plenty of posturing from both, Crocker doing a little jig towards the end of the sixth after another round where he was on top but another in which McKenna took everything coming his way.

It was more of the same in the seventh with McKenna refusing to budge and although he was having his moments, there were not enough of them with Crocker now well ahead on the cards.


Could McKenna find something to turn this around in the final rounds? He certainly tried early in the eighth, but just didn't have enough to flip the script with Crocker again loading up and looking a little frustrated at times when tied up.

Crocker went for it in the final round, but McKenna was going nowhere and perhaps deservedly heard the final bell given all he had put into this. It was a moral victory in a way but not the one he wanted as Crocker and his big support were celebrating a big win on a huge night.

"There always was respect," Crocker said about the rivalry with McKenna.

"It's just that when we were fighting each other and everything on the line tonight, but after there is no bad blood.

"He could have took a different fight for more money, but he took it and showed his b***s again tonight."

McKenna has since announced that this was his last dance as he has called time on his career that saw him mix it with some of the best names in the sport.

He can bow out with his head held high having never shirked a challenge, but it's time to pass the torch on.

"That's it for 'The Mighty Celt', people," he confirmed.

"I've given a lot to this sport and got way further than I ever thought possible when sleeping on the floors in Philly (early in his career). I never thought I'd be in some of the huge nights I was part of.

"I set out to try and become the most entertaining man in Ireland, always taking the hardest fights put to me even when I didn't have to. I had some amazing nights with you all, win, lose or draw. I hope I did you all proud. The one title no one will take any time soon is the hardest man in Ireland."