Stevie McKenna made his way to a second successive Senior Elite final at the weekend.
However, things are a bit different now than in December 2015.
The so-called ‘baby face’ that drew the attention of those in attendance at his light flyweight final against Regan Buckley has matured somewhat, and it is a completely changed Stevie McKenna in the ring.
A huge growth spurt has seen the decorated underage star jump up two weight divisions and he now cuts an imposing figure in the ring, towering over most bantamweights. Indeed the Monaghan boxer has become a more rounded boxer. While he is known for his high-intensity, swarming style, he now has the long levers to facilitate a more effective backfoot game.
This could be seen in his semi final on Friday against last year’s 56kg runner-up Myles Casey in which McKenna prevailed via split decision.
Speaking to Irish-Boxing.com after the last four encounter, the Old School BC puncher described how “it was a good tactical fight, I fought a different style than I usually do, it was more of a countering style there. I can box any style but I’m usually aggressive. It was a tricky enough opponent but I thought I was comfortable enough.”
“I couldn’t believe it [the split decision], I thought I won every round. I don’t know what they were thinking.”
McKenna, who turns 20 this week, is now predicting an improved showing in the decider, where he will face reigning champion Kurt Walker.
“Come the final I’ll be a different level again,” the Ulsterman promised. “I think I’ll rise to the occasion even more. Come the final I’ll be one hundred percent. No doubt come the final I’ll be buzzing.”
Commenting on his ever-growing frame, McKenna laughed “soon I wont be able to make 56kg!”
“I’ll end up moving to 60kg and probably finish off at 64kg. But I’m feeling good, I’m feeling very strong at 56kg, and I’ve good stamina.”
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography
Eric Donovan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 2 of the Irish Boxing Show: