Aaron McKenna, a tall rangy welterweight from Ireland, makes his pro debut on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Just two months after signing a contract with Golden Boy Promotions, the former amateur star from Monaghan, Ireland will enter the ring largely unknown to boxing fans in the U.S. but in the amateur world he was well known.
McKenna, 18, fights Victor Eddy Gaytan (2-3) of Mexico. The main fight featuring Miguel Cotto’s farewell bout will be televised by HBO. But not McKenna’s bout, although he will have plenty of Irish fans in attendance.
“There’s a lot of Irish in New York,” said McKenna (pictured with his publicist Rachel Charles) who also has family on the East Coast.
What fans can expect is a 6-foot tall 147-pound fighter with an aggressive style and who knows how to use his long left jab. He’s also a very accurate puncher.
It’s a big transition from amateur boxing to prizefighting regardless of the talent. You never know what to expect. This pro debut will reveal a lot.
As an amateur McKenna won eight national titles in Ireland and multiple titles in international tournaments. He moves around the boxing ring with a purpose and always has a sense of where he is and where he wants to be.
Where he wanted to be after his amateur career is in California.
“Training over here is better and there is better quality of sparring,” said McKenna who signed a managerial contract with Sheer Management which also works with another Irish fighter in middleweight contender Jason Quigley.
So far so good for McKenna on California shores. Aside from him and Quigley, another Irish fighter in the Los Angeles area is Michael Conlan. All three know each other and occasionally take adventures together.
McKenna looks forward to watching Cotto perform for a final time on Saturday.
“He’s a legend,” McKenna said. “I’ve learned a lot from him.”
Other Fight Chatter
On Thursday Nov. 30, undefeated Lamont Roach (15-0, 6 KOs) meets Rey Perez (21-8, 6 KOs) of the Philippines in defense of the WBC Silver Youth title in the super featherweight class. The match takes place near Roach’s home in Maryland. It will be televised live on ESPN2.
Roach recently suffered the loss of his uncle Bernard “Boogaloo” Roach, 52, who passed away in October to a heart attack. Coach Roach trained him and others, including former world champion DeMarcus Corley and middleweight contender Andrew Council.
This will be Lamont Roach Jr.’s second title defense.
Another super featherweight clash features Puerto Rico’s Jose Lopez (19-1-1, 14 KOs) facing Philadelphia’s Avery Sparrow (8-1, 3 KOs) in a 10-round contest. Lopez, 23, recently defeated title contender Orlando Cruz for the WBO International title. Sparrow, 23, is fighting for the first time outside of Philadelphia.
Also on the same boxing card will be Northern California’s Manuel “Tino” Avila returning to the boxing ring after suffering his first pro loss to Jojo Diaz last Cinco de Mayo. Avila (22-1, 8 KOs) fights veteran Nick Otieno (31-12) in an eight round featherweight clash. Otieno is a 44 year old from Kenya who has never been stopped.
Cesar Diaz Honored
The World Boxing Council named deceased fighter Cesar Diaz an honorary champion today, Nov. 29. Diaz recently passed away following a car accident near his home in Palmdale, Calif. He was managed by Joel Diaz and promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. “For this and so much more, it’s only right to say Farewell like a Champion,” said the WBC in a statement. Diaz was only 20 years old. Memorial services are planned for Dec. 14, 4 to 8 p.m. at Chapel Hill Dignitary Memorial located at 23287 N. Sierra Highway in Newhall, Calif. 91321.
Photo credit: Al Applerose.
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