SPARRING with Josh Taylor has whipped Monaghan fighter Stephen McKenna into razor-sharp shape for his rumble with Poland’s Damian Haus in Coventry tonight.
Monaghan native McKenna shared the ring with Taylor (WBA and IBF lighter-welterweight champion) as the Scot prepared for his unification clash with WBO and WBC belt holder Jose Ramirez.
Taylor fights in Las Vegas, McKenna (7-0) in Coventry but the ambitious Smithboro puncher is determined to follow in the footsteps of the ‘Tartan Tornado’ and no stone will be left unturned.
Since Christmas McKenna, along with his brother Aaron (10-0 as a middleweight) and their father and coach Fergal, have had sparring camps in Tijuana, Mexico, in Las Vegas (with Taylor) and in England (with Tyson Fury).
Taylor brought McKenna into his camp because he had worked with Ramirez in the past and the Farney fighter, who has stopped all seven of his opponents so far, fancies another early night in Coventry as chief support to the Sam Eggington versus Carlos Molina headline act.
“Any time I step through the ropes, I’m in with bad intentions to get the guy out of there,” said ‘the Hitman’.
“Any time I’m in, I’m going for the K-O and I want to do it in style as well. I had back-to-back fights in December and it was great to get fighting again after being locked down for so long. I want to get back on track now and keep fighting and stay busy.”
Haus has been brought in as his opponent after “a couple of guys pulled out”. The Pole has a 3-5 record but all three victories have come inside the distance so McKenna cannot dismiss his punching power.
“It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of that ring from me, I’m going in there and I’m going to take them out of there,” said McKenna.
“Every fight I’m getting better and better. Me and my brother Aaron work savagely hard in the gym. We train every day, we don’t take any breaks and we’re very dedicated.
“We love this game – all we think about is boxing and we want to become world champions. We know it’s not easy, you have to stay dedicated and stay in the game; we’ll do anything to become world champions and go down as Ireland’s greatest fighters.
“Mick Hennessy has big plans for me over the next few years and I’m just going to do what I have to do and take each opponent as they come. Within the next two-three years I want to be up there fighting for the world title.”