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Aaron McKenna scores Sky Sports stoppage win

Aaron McKenna moved to the 15-0 mark with a dominant win in Coventry this evening.

The Monaghan middleweight won via seventh-round stoppage at the SkyDome as Argentine David Benitez was thrown out for a succession of indiscretions.

The visitor was docked a point for a low blow and was essentially disqualified seconds later as he spat his gumshield out and kicked it across the ring. It wasn’t a protest from Benitez, more an unsuccessful tactic to buy time as he was heavily under the cosh from a rampaging McKenna – who was ruled a technical knockout winner.

For McKenna, it was his first fight since his WBC Youth title win over Carlos Gallego last December. That was a Hennessy debut for the prospect but the promotional outfit has been hit this year, losing their television deal with Channel 5 and finding slots hard to come by for their fighters. Teaming up with Boxxer and Sky Sports here, McKenna had a chance to impress, something he largely did.

While McKenna had an undesirable slot, featuring early on the YouTube-portion of the bill, the Ulsterman had garnered attention in the build-up with his confident predictions of World domination and a spicy head-to-head with Benitez after their weigh-in yesterday.

The Argentinian, a former WSB participant, has only recently begun to fight on the road and went the eight-round distance with top Cameroonian-Canadian prospect Wilfred Ntsengue. Squat, Benitez stood much shorter than McKenna and quickly began to feel the impact from the long levers of the Irishman.

McKenna stepped up the pace at the start of the second, turning over his shots as the wily Benitez looked to merely ride the incoming firestorm.

The South American started with a flurry in the third but this was quickly beaten out of him by McKenna’s straight right hands. Cornering a play-acting Benitez in the final minute, the Irishman looked to finally be making a real dent.

Benitez slipped further into survival mode in the fourth, spending much of his time on the ropes as McKenna looked to vary the weight of his shots and unlock the Argentine’s defences.

Moving into the second half of the scheduled eight-rounder, the McKenna pace was not relenting and the shelled-up Benitez really appeared to be lagging, with low blows seemingly being his only method of attack.

Uppercuts and left hooks from McKenna in the sixth were doing real damage as Benitez was not given a moment’s respite. The Buenos Aires native found himself on the canvas twice toward the end of the round, slumping down. Correctly, no knockdowns were awarded but Benitez was told at the break that the fight would be called if he did not show some aggression.

Smelling blood, McKenna poured on the pressure at the start of the seventh but some craft cornerwork – not re-inserting the gumshield – gave Benitez some respite. It would all be over soon after, however, as Benitez was docked a point for a low blow and, upon the resumption of action, he spat out his gumshield and the fight was waved off by referee Kevin Parker.

The odd ending sees McKenna improve his record to 15(8)-0 and both he and his brother, welterweight Stevie, will look to be back out in action soon. The battered Benitez slips to 8(2)-7(1).

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie