The Monaghan youngster was involved in a tough fight with Travis Conley, but came through to claim a points win that impressed those in attendance.
However, it was the stage for the 18 year old’s first fight that was the big stand out.
Las Vegas as a venue is second to none and a million miles away from the small hall. Fighting on a Golden Boy card and a bill chocked full of elite talent isn’t average for a teen debutant from Ireland either.
The European Schoolboys gold medal winner then played his part and performed impressively in the ring meaning things couldn’t have went better for the Smithborough starlet.
A special night all round.
“It was very exciting to be involved in such a big card particularly more so with the venue,” McKenna told Irish-Boxing.com.
“To debut in Las Vegas was really special. All the big fights are always in Vegas! The feedback I got from the boxing fans that night was tremendous. It was a really special night for me,” he continued before reflecting on how he did in the ring.
“I was happy with my performance for my first outing. I felt really comfortable once I settled down and started to let my punches go. My amateur experience helped me a lot and I was always in good control in all four rounds.”
“Travis Conley was a game lad and certainly came to fight and took some good shots. I was really happy at getting four good rounds under my belt. It will really stand to me for future bouts. As they say you can’t buy experience.”
The level of focus and performance seemed all the more impressive seen as it came after a disruptive week. McKenna was dealt a massive blow after what was meant to be his debut fight on the undercard of Miguel Cotto’s farewell in Madison Square Garden was cancelled on the day of the fight.
However, his team promised to find him a fight and delivered on another big card just seven days later. Ireland’s youngest current pro admits he felt the blow initially, but on reflection sees the experience as a positive.
“It was a bit of a blow for me alright,” continued ‘Silencer’.
“But I got good reassurance from my management team Sheer Sports that Golden Boy were pulling out all the stops to get me on the next major card. A lot of family and friends travelled over from Ireland to watch me as well.”
“My coaches were great at keeping me focused and we were sparring the next morning at Gleeson’s Gym with my brother Stephen. I’m not the type that gets to upset with anything and I move on very quickly.”
“Now it almost feels like I had two fights in one week as I participated in two weigh-ins. I would do it all again if need be. Not too many 18 year olds can say they weighed in at Madison Square Garden and Vegas in the one week!”
Now the debut is out of the way what does McKenna want next? At 18 he has time, but he is hoping at the very least for a busy 2018 and a move toward six rounders.
“Next year we are looking at fighting at least five times and building into six round fights as soon as possible. I feel more comfortable up at six rounds.”
“It”s all about gaining experience and learning the trade. I want to focus on each fight one at a time and not look any further than that.” he added before commenting on what was the most noticeable difference for him between pro and amateur codes.
“The main thing I noticed is there is no standing 8 counts. I hit Conley with some cracking shots and in the amateurs the ref would have been jumping in to give him a count but not anymore you hit them till they fall down now!”
“As I said, the extra rounds will suit me and I will look forward to moving into six rounders soon All great learning for me!”