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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

Irish teen Aaron McKenna scores another impressive first-round knockout in California

Ireland and Golden Boy Promotions’ youngest professional fighter moves to 3-0 (2KOs) in style.

Image: Tom Hogan/INPHO

HE DOESN’T MESS around in there, Monaghan’s Aaron McKenna.

The 18-year-old Smithborough weltwerweight scored his second first-round knockout in three weeks last night as he laid waste to a solid foe in Keasen Freeman at Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California.

‘The Silencer’ – so-called due to his quiet demeanour outside of the ring and predilection for violence within it – dropped Freeman twice inside two minutes before referee Wayne Hedgpeth called a halt to proceedings, adjudging the South Carolina native to be unable to continue.

McKenna, making his second televised appearance on a Golden Boy on ESPN card, moves to 3-0 with two of his wins quick, while Freeman – just two years his senior – drops to 4-2. Both of the dreadlocked American’s defeats have been suffered at the hands of outstanding talents, however, in 2016 US Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell and eight-time Irish champion McKenna respectively.

At Fantasy Springs last night, McKenna went one better than Russell [4-0, 4KOs], who’s a brother of WBC World featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr: the Rio Olympian took two rounds to inflict a first defeat upon Freeman six weeks ago, whereas McKenna used a round fewer in disposing of their shared opponent.

The former European Schoolboys champion and European Junior silver medalist first dropped Freeman with a cuffing left hook at the tail-end of a sharp combination, before a thudding overhand right to the temple sent Freeman crashing to the canvas again.

To the American’s credit, he rose to his feet and attempted to respond to referee Hedgpeth’s inquiry, but his eyes betrayed his bravery and the bout was waved off with just less than a minute remaining in the opener.

McKenna, Ireland’s youngest professional fighter as well as the youngest combatant signed to Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, is tentatively set to fight six more times in 2018.

The six-foot-one ‘Silencer’ has been tipped for world honours by Hall-of-Famer De La Hoya himself, but aged 18 has years on his side.

Golden Boy and McKenna’s management team, Sheer Sports – who also guide the career of his promotional stablemate Jason Quigley – will convene in the coming weeks to plot the Monaghan man’s next move.

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