McKenna [16(6)-0-1] was set to settle a simmering grudge with another Dublin fighter on the undercard of Mick Conlan’s June 30 Homecoming in Belfast before ‘Succo’ was forced out of the clash for a second time through injury.
While the all Irish Belfast v Dublin bout was eagerly anticipated on these shores and seemed as appetising as Jono Carroll Declan Geraghty rematch, McKenna suggests he has upgraded in terms of opponent inadvertently.
‘The Mighty Celt’ will now face former British champion and fellow undefeated light welter Catterall at the SSE Odyssey Arena at the end of this month.
While some might miss the derby element to a Sutcliffe fight, the much-hyped and extremely talented Catterall certainly provides the Lenadoon southpaw with a chance to take a bigger scalp and, as the Englishman is ranked #5 with the WBO and holds their Inter-Continental belt, progress his career further.
However, McKenna also argues the prospect of him versus the English fighter, who is a stablemate of Carl Frampton under Jamie Moore, excites the locals more.
“It makes this show even bigger,” McKenna said on the BoxNation Podcast.
“Normally when someone pulls out of a fight, like Phil Sutcliffe did, you’re worried you’re going to get a bad fighter in their place, someone you didn’t really want but in this case I’ve got a fight that’s ten times bigger than the original.”
“It excites the Belfast fans even more. Ireland people always love fighting English people don’t they?”
“It’s in my home country, it’s in my home city, it’s on a massive show. I was already selling loads and loads of tickets for this show but, now, since that fight has been announced, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. It’s got me buzzing.”
‘El Gato’, which was also once the nickname of McKenna, had been linked with a possible fight with Queensberry stablemate Terry Flanagan prior to the Manchester man’s defeat by Maurice Hooker in a vacant WBO world title fight on Saturday night.
Despite the surprise result, it is assumed promoter Frank Warren has an ‘option’ on, at least, Hooker’s next fight
24-year-old Catterall [21(12)-0] has been vocal about his desire to kick on toward world level, but McKenna has warned the Lancashire fighter against overlooking him.
“He’s very, very good. He’s very strong. He’s a solid boxer. He’s slick,” McKenna continued.
“No one gives him credit for how slick and how good his head movement is. He is very good, but I believe in myself and believe I have the attributes to beat him.”
“I think he may be semi-overlooking me a bit. I’ve heard a few things that he’s said, that I’m not his toughest opponent so I think he might be overlooking me a bit – I hope not but, if he is, that might be his downfall.”
“I don’t think I’m a fighter than should be overlooked – I’m a 6 foot 1 inch southpaw. I can box but I like to fight as well.”
“I believe it’s going to bring the best out of me this fight,” added the man who is familiar with Catterall having sparred him previously.”
Listen to the BoxNation Podcast in full below: