Irish amateur star turns pro in America


Stevie McKenna has turned professional.

The Monaghan lightweight, one of three fighting McKenna brothers from Smithborough, has joined his younger sibling Aaron in the pros while eldest Gary remains in the vest.

20-year-old McKenna has spent the past few months out in Los Angeles training alongside Aaron – who moved to 3-0 on Thursday with a first-round knockout. He will join ‘The Silencer’ under management outfit Sheer Sports and South African trainer Courage Tshabalala.

The move was revealed this morning by the42.ie.

A top underage amateur, McKenna won Commonwealth Youth gold and European Youth silver in 2015 before moving to Senior level and, in his first fight, claiming the 2016 Irish Elite Senior light flyweight title with a win over current pro Regan Buckley – who looks set now to go the other way and return to the amateurs.

A rapid growth spurt ensued and the Old School BC man would finish runner-up to Kurt Walker in the 2017 bantamweight final. This rise through the weights continued, with McKenna competing as high as light welterweight before entering the Ulster Elites last November at lightweight.

Following a loss in the Ulster semis to Sean Duffy, the Monaghan puncher would not compete in the most recent Irish Senior Championship – instead remaining on the U.S. West Coast with his brother.

McKenna becomes the second of the 2016 Men’s Irish Senior champions to turn pro after Davey Oliver Joyce [6(5)-0]. None of the Classes of 2017 or 2018 have made the switch.

Stevie and Aaron become the third set of active Irish professional boxing brothers alongside West Belfast’s Mick and Jamie Conlan and East Belfast’s Matt and Luke Wilton.

Promotional details and a debut date for McKenna will be confirmed shortly.

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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