The Lenadoon light welter has been on a crusade the past year to secure a big name opponent and will finally face one on Saturday October 21st at the SSE Odyssey Arena on the Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov unification undercard.
The list of call-outs has been endless, but McKenna will actually take on a fighter whose name he didn’t call – Tommy Coyle.
“I called out everyone, but Tommy Coyle’s so nice that I didn’t call him out! Now he’s the one who’s going to fight me,” laughed McKenna when speaking to Irish-Boxing.com.
“Everyone knows what he is. He’s a warrior. The guy loves a fight, would never turn one down and as soon as it was put to him he accepted.”
“He’s one of the biggest names I could’ve fought. He has the biggest following, fought on the biggest stage. He’s had big fights with Derry [Mathews], Luke Campbell, he sold out a stadium with Campbell.”
“It’s giving me more publicity, more notoriety, it’s a perfect fight for me at this stage.”
McKenna is more than familiar with Coyle having spent time over in Hull sparring in the lead up to the Luke Campbell stadium fight in the Summer of 2015. Back then ‘The Mighty Celt’ was still ‘El Gatto’ and was an unsigned fighter boxing at welterweight.
The southpaw recalled how “it was a long time ago. I wasn’t with Danny Vaughan, I wasn’t with MTK, I wasn’t training properly. I think I’ve improved greatly from then – and it was an even enough spar. I’m confident that I’ve improved dramatically and he hasn’t.”
“We’ll work out a gameplan and whatever Danny Vaughan wants, I’ll stick to. He’s the boss. If he wants me to box, to dig deep and fight, I can do anything.
While the status of the bout is still to be confirmed, it could easily be seen as a British title eliminator, with Tyrone Nurse defending the belt against Jack Catterall on the same night in Leeds.
After cutting his teeth against Sean Creagh and Jake Hanney, McKenna wants to move to the next level against Coyle [23(11)-4(2)] and never look back.
The 27 year old described how “Everyone was saying ‘fight this Irish guy,’ like Phil Sutcliffe, or a Jake Hanney rematch, but this is far bigger.”
“I was asked would I fancy this and I straight away said ‘one hundred percent.’ It’s the fight I’ve been dying for, these kind of fights.”
“After this fight it’s going to be big names every time, I want to be in the mix with them.”
“Every day that I get up it’s feeling like Christmas. I’m going to training happy and I’m training hard. A happy fighter is a winning fighter.”
The Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov undercard also features Paul Hyland v Stephen Ormond, James Tennyson v Darren Traynor, Feargal McCrory, Jay Byrne, and Josh Kelly, with more still to be announced.
Tickets for the night cost £30, £40, £60, £100, £150 (VIP), and are available from the boxers involved or through HERE