Earlier this month it was confirmed that Monaghan light welterweight Aaron McKenna had put pen to paper and had signed a promotional deal with American giant Golden Boy following a courtship of well over a year.
The youngster will be relocating to Los Angeles where he will be trained by Courage Tshabalala, and will be managed by SheerSports – the company behind Jason Quigley.
McKenna definitely isn’t entering the pro game on a wing and a prayer, and he believes that world title belts will adorn his waist very, very soon.
Only 18 years old and one of the top light welters in the world at Youth level, many had seen McKenna as a potential medal hope for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
During a glittering amateur career McKenna claimed eight Irish titles, European Schoolboys gold, European Junior silver, and this year won gold at the extremely prestigious Nikolay Pavlyukov Memorial in Russia.
Olympic glory however was never the plan for McKenna and, regardless, the opportunity presented to him was to good to turn down.
The Old School teen told Irish-Boxing.com that “it was a easy decision as it was always my ambition to to box professionally.”
“The Olympics aren’t for another ther years and if things go well for me I could have up to 15 pro fights by then!”
“This is a great opportunity for me with Golden Boy Promotions and I intend to make the most of it.”
McKenna intends to entertain when he makes his debut later this year.
He noted that “I would like to think that I am very suited to the pro game as I have a good engine and am already sparring with some top quality pro lads.”
“On a good night I have no trouble sparring eight to ten rounds. As I learn the trade I will work hard on sitting down more on my shots and look to add power to my game”
“I like to think that I have a aggressive style of boxing. I come to fight and put on a show. I love the way Mike Tyson fights and the intimidation he carries with him into the ring.”
“I can also adapt to any particular style of opponent and am also a sharp counter puncher!”
Close to 40 Irish fighters have turned pro/debuted this year however, bar Mick Conlan, none are relocating to America like McKenna will.
The younger brother of top amateurs Stevie and Gary, Aaron believes that an American apprenticeship can accelerate his ascent up the ranks.
McKenna described how “it will be very exciting for me to be based and boxing out of the USA. It is a great place to learn the trade where I can benefit from top class sparring. Most of the gyms in L.A. have top quality fighters which will really speed up my development and help my progress.”
With his pedigree and his backing, McKenna is unsurprisingly ambitious, and is aiming to reach the very pinnacle of boxing – within just THREE years,
Outlining his plans, McKenna explained that “short term is to build myself with good performances from four-round fights and as I develop and learn the trade to then move to six and eight rounds under the guidance of my coaches and management team at SheerSports.”
“Long term I want to be world champion and would hope to be knocking on the door when I’m 21, which is three years away.”
“”I hope to box on some top boxing cards in L.A, Vegas, Boston and Madison Square Garden in New York.”
“My ambition is to win titles at multiple weights!”