Emerging prospect Stevie McKenna has turned to horsepower as he gallops towards his first championship title.
The undefeated KO king and his equally talented brother Aaron, an unbeaten light-middleweight talent, have both taken up horse riding to aid in their active recovery from arduous training sessions.
Front runner McKenna features on promoter Mick Hennessy’s big bill on Friday 10th September at the Coventry Skydome Arena, headlined by Sam Eggington’s defence of his WBC Silver Middleweight Championship against undefeated French sensation Bilel Jkitou, exclusively live and free on Channel 5 in the UK and Ireland.
The County Monaghan ace has shot out of the starting gates as a pro, racing to a perfect 8-0 and flattening all by knockout – with five coming in the opening round – and is in the saddle on the fast track to his first championship title.
Stablemates Stevie, 24, and Aaron, 22, recently took to the Sport of Kings on their return to Ireland after the lockdown and the brothers are now regulars at the Mullaghmore Equestrian Centre at the luxury 5 Star hotel Castle Leslie in Monaghan.
He said, “It started when Aaron and I came back to Ireland from America after the lockdown and we were looking for something to do at the weekends and we just hit on the idea of doing some horse riding,”
“Back In Los Angeles we were jet skiing and shooting on our days off, we were always out and about doing some type of active recovery from our training sessions so back home in Ireland we chose horse riding and I’m glad we did.
“It’s a very exciting and we get a great thrill out of it. We get an adrenaline rush out of it, just like you do in the ring, once you get the horse going up fast to a canter and then once you start getting it galloping, it’s a truly amazing feeling.
“It’s a dangerous sport, but we’re not afraid of anything and we have great instructors to do it safely. We decided to pick it up and we learned pretty quick, it didn’t take us long to get on the horse and get used to it and we’re really enjoying it.
“It’s hard on the legs and you have to use your core and balance so it works everything. Instead of lying up on a Sunday on the couch and doing nothing you’re out horse riding and we’re really feeling the benefits when we’re back in the gym.”
“Balance is key when you’re standing up on the horse and using the core so it helps us as well when we’re taking a rest day and also getting in some active recovery. It fits well as part of our training schedule. We’re hoping to do anything on the horse like galloping, jumping as high as we can get them, we’re up for anything, we’re still just learning really and it will happen over time, but for now we’re just really loving the excitement.”
The McKennas are even eying up owning a stable of champions horses one day, but for now Stevie has got the blinkers on as he focuses on becoming World Champion.He added, “Hopefully someday we can own a few horses ourselves, but our focus right now is to become World champions first.
“We’re both a bit tall to be jockeys, I’m 6’ 1” and Aaron’s 6’ 2”, so we’d probably need to get a jockey in, our brother Gary is a wee bit shorter so we may use him!”
“Watch out Paul Townend and Rachael Blackmore, in the future who knows, we might give them a run for their money!”