Boxing

McKenna 'just wants to entertain' as he calls out Conor Benn

Stephen McKenna (back) in action against Moussa Gary during the boxing event at the Coventry Skydome Arena Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA
FROM CHRIS MCNULTY AT THE COVENTRY SKYDOME

STEVIE McKenna issued another call to Conor Benn after the Smithborough man went the distance for the first time as a pro.

McKenna overcame Moussa Gary on Friday night for his first win on points after eight previous KOs.

Gary proved a tricky opponent for McKenna and the Frenchman asked some questions of the Monaghan mauler.

“It was a great fight, just what I needed,” McKenna said.

“I'm looking forward to plenty more fights like that, thrilling fights.

“I just love entertainment. No-one wants to see boring fights. I'm always there to put on an entertaining fight. There is way more to come. I haven't showed anything yet really.

“Most of my fights have finished pretty early, but I'm prepared to go the distance - I'd do 12 rounds tomorrow!

“That was a tough guy in six rounds. I'm looking forward to bigger and better fights. He was awkward, diving in a lot. I had to adapt and do my thing. I'm always prepared to go the distance. I was just getting warmed up and I was enjoying it.”

A shutout 60-54 points win will stand to McKenna, who heard the final bell for the first time after six useful rounds.

The minor battle scars he bore showed that he didn't have it all his own way. It was still a comfortable win for McKenna - who insists he wants to get a crack at Conor Benn.

Last weekend, Benn defended the WBA Continental title with a decision of Adrian Granados.

McKenna said: “I want to get Conor Benn. That's the fight I want. It's a fight the fans would love to see. I want to stay busy and build towards a title.”

His younger brother Aaron overcame Ivica Gogosevic in four rounds and wants to build some lost momentum.

The 22-year-old, a late addition to the Coventry card, moved to 12-0 as he made his ring return after a nine-month absence.

“After the inactivity, it was good to get some rounds,” McKenna said.

“I got a rhythm again going into the last round, letting my hands go. Hopefully I'll get some fights now before the end of the year to keep it going.

“It felt fantastic to finally get back in there. I want to keep building now and I'm only 22 so I have a lot to learn and improve on.

“That's what I do. I'll get into the gym and work on what I need to work on to make sure I get people out of there and put on good performances.”

Gogosevic proved a durable customer and although McKenna had the 36-year-old on the canvas late in the fourth round, he was saved by the bell.

McKenna said: “I thought early I was landing some good shots and I'd get him out of there, but he was still standing. If it had been an eight or ten-round fight, he wouldn't have lasted.

“I was close to getting him out of there and I wanted to get him out of there. If I had ten more seconds, he'd have been gone, but I'm just happy to get the win.”

McKenna sparred with the likes of Jaime Munguía and Luis Arias earlier this year and the Monaghan man is ready for a swift return.

A third round stoppage of Teodor Nikolov gave Donegal middleweight Brett McGinty his first pro KO. A vicious right dropped Nikolov and the Ricky Hatton-trained McGinty sensed that the end was nigh. One minute and 17 seconds into the third round, McGinty moved his pro record to 3-0.

He said: “I felt that I had a bit of spite behind my punches. I want to be 5-0 by the end of the year and have a big year next year.

“I want activity and I need activity. I'll be out in November and December again. That's what I need.”

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