The Lenadoon light welter had lost last time out in Belfast to world-rated Jack Catterall and returned in Glasgow in a headline fight versus Lewis Benson.
Facing another fighter coming off a loss, the clash was billed as something of a ‘loser leaves town’ bout, with the defeated most likely to face the proverbial long road back to meaningful fights.
However, the Emirates Arena would instead play host a match-up which BoxNation commentators were calling a potential domestic Fight of the Year and one with a final result that has sparked huge debate.
McKenna won the ten-round headline fight on a 96-95 referee’s scorecard following a gruelling half-hour.
‘The Mighty Celt’ was left with a badly marked up face but, like versus Catterall, he marched forward and landed heavy shots.
Benson was the more active, catching McKenna when he came in with lots of counters but the bigger shots of the Irishman won the favour of the referee who gave him a one-point nod – with many disagreeing both in the venue and at home on social media.
The Ulster southpaw revealed afterwards that he was struggling because of the weight but felt he fully deserved the win.
McKenna said that “I love wars. From the first round, I felt I’d done the weight wrong but all I do is walk forward and throw shots. That’s what got me the win – I was forcing the fight and I believe I hurt him at least once in every round.”
“I was landing bigger and the cleaner shots. Benson was harder than I thought but he wasn’t landing anything good. He was looking good going backwards but that didn’t effect me. I want bigger fights now.”
Edinburgh’s Benson would announce his retirement at ringside afterwards but is said to have cooled on this statement now – which is unsurprising considering the potential for a rematch between the pair in Belfast next year.
The win sees McKenna improve his record to 17(6)-1(0)-1 while Benson drops to 10(2)-2(0).