Hot Irish amateur prospect Aaron McKenna excited for pro debut
Los Angeles-based Sheer Sports Management, in conjunction with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, is part of the team guiding the career of undefeated, Irish middleweight contender Jason Quigley, 13-0 (10). Quigley lives and trains in Los Angeles but proudly calls Donegal, Ireland home.
And it looks like Irish eyes will continue smiling in the bright California sun as Sheer Sports recently signed another outstanding Irish prospect they are very excited about, former amateur standout Aaron McKenna who hails from County Monaghan, Ireland.
McKenna also signed with Golden Boy Promotions, the youngest fighter they have ever signed, having recently turned 18 years of age.
If amateur experience, always a good foundation for the next step into professional boxing, is any indication, then McKenna might be a prospect fans and observers will be talking about every soon. McKenna will make his foray into the pros with a very successful amateur career behind him and will look to use that foundation as he transitions into punching for pay.
McKenna picked up 145 wins in 153 bouts as an amateur. He started boxing at age six, out of the Old School and Smithboro Boxing Clubs in County Monaghan, Ireland. The Old School Boxing Club holds legendary acclaim on the Emerald Isle, having produced former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan, who maintains an iconic status among Irish champions.
By age 11, McKenna had won his first national title. He also made it to the semifinals of the Ringside World Championships. By age 13, he was representing Ireland at the World Schoolboy Championships in Russia and picked up a gold medal the following year at the same tournament, while also serving as team captain. McKenna would go on to earn silver in Russia, in 2014, before suffering a very controversial loss the following year. After winning gold at the World Multi-National Championships, McKenna was ranked No. 9 in the world.
Don’t let the baby-faced looks fool you; this young man can fight and is excited to make his foray into the professional ranks before the year is out.
UCNLive caught up with McKenna at his home in Monaghan, Ireland, to get his thoughts on his oncoming professional career and how he feels after signing with the legendary “Golden Boy” himself, Oscar De La Hoya.
“I was aware that Jason Quigley was managed by Sheer Sports and, after contact with (Sheer Sports’ public relations representative) Rachel Charles, it was arranged that we should fly over in 2015 and make a connection”, said McKenna. “I was over and back to L.A. three times altogether and Sheer Sports made me feel very welcome. I got to train in most of the top gyms, during my stays. On my last visit, we all agreed it would be great to sign with Sheer Sports.”
While McKenna plans to pack up and move his training base to the sunny climes of California, he won’t be too homesick with his father/trainer Fergal McKenna tagging along. “I will be based in Santa Monica, full-time, and I’ll train at Iron Boxing Gym with Coach Courage Tshabalala and my father,” said McKenna. McKenna stands just a shade under 6-foot-1 and will be tall for his weight class, as he plans to campaign at the 147-pound limit.
While he looks back fondly on his time in the amateurs, he is excited to turn pro and, like fellow countryman Quigley, one day hopes to fight for a world title. “I would like to get going with a good positive start on my debut and build myself with patience into the pro game,” said McKenna. “Within three-to-four years, I would be hoping to fight for major titles. My dream is to become world champion within three-to-four years.”
In the meantime, fight fans might be in for some exciting stuff in the squared circle, as he develops. And don’t be fooled by the quiet, shy exterior; McKenna is a fighter who is looking to make a lot of noise in the ring, with his fists doing all the talking.
“I’m tall for my weight, standing at just under 6-foot 1-inch tall, with a reach of 74 inches,” said McKenna. “My nickname is ‘The Silencer,’ which speaks for itself. I don’t do a big pile of talking outside the ring but I like to walk the walk and talk the talk inside the ring. I would hope that the fans would certainly be entertained with my aggressive, ‘Come and fight me’ style. I don’t intend to disappoint anyone.”