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McKenna brothers join forces with legendary trainer Freddie Roach

The Hall-of-Fame trainer will take the Smithborough siblings under his wing at his Wild Card gym in Hollywood.

Roach wraps Aaron McKenna's hands.
Roach wraps Aaron McKenna's hands.

MONAGHAN BROTHERS AARON and Stevie McKenna have been taken under the wing of Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who will replace Robert Garcia as their head coach.

The Smithborough siblings will now base themselves out of Roach’s famed Wild Card gym in Hollywood, parting company with the world-class Garcia simply for geographical reasons.

Their father and co-trainer, Fergal McKenna, said:

Wild Card is the Mecca of boxing gyms in LA. Its a dream come true for the boys to be under the tutelage of ‘Irish’ Freddie Roach. We are immensely appreciative to Robert Garcia. It was an experience that the boys won’t soon forget.

Lyle Green, vice president of the brothers’ management team, Sheer Sports, added: “It was a tough decision for the boys to move to a new trainer. That said, Freddie Roach is a world class trainer that will look after the boys and advance their development. We are confident that Freddie can lead the boys to be world champions.

a97c8f2c-36d5-4b49-bd12-8718d794db60 Roach advises Stevie McKenna.

Ultimately, the thrice-weekly 200-kilometre round trip to Garcia’s gym in Riverside from the McKennas’ Ladera Heights home — combined with the notorious Los Angeles traffic — put paid to that particular arrangement.

Roach’s Wild Card headquarters are located just 25 minutes away from the McKennas’ base.

In a brief statement, Roach said:

I want to welcome Stevie ‘Hitman’ McKenna, Aaron ‘The Silencer’ McKenna and Fergal McKenna to Wild Card Boxing – let’s get to work.

The 59-year-old is widely considered to be one of the greatest boxing coaches of all time. Among his countless feats, Roach has trained eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao for the bones of two decades, cornered all-time great James Toney in his heyday, resurrected the career of Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto, and steered recent Hall of Fame inductee Lucia Rijker to greatness in the female code. He has also worked closely with several mixed martial artists, including George St-Pierre.

manny-pacquiao-media-day Roach takes Pacquiao on the pads. Source: Chris Farina

boxing-pacquiao-vs-thurman The 59-year-old looks on as his star pupil gears up for battle. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

In all, he has was worked with 41 boxers who were either world champions under his tutelage or became so later in their careers.

Roach is a seven-time Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Trainer of the Year, picking up the prestigious award in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014.

He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012.

Aaron McKenna, a 20-year-old welterweight standout whose record in the professional ranks stands at 10-0(6KOs), will fight under Roach’s tutelage for the first time on a Golden Boy Show on 28 March.

Older brother Stevie [4-0, 4KOs], 23, a light-welterweight, is expected to also return to the ring this spring.

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