Vasyl Lomachenko and Stevie McKenna after a sparring session on Monday night
The lads

Monaghan youngster McKenna spars pound-for-pound star Lomachenko ahead of new-year debut

The Smithborough stylist is expected to make his pro debut with Golden Boy Promotions early in the new year.

FORMER IRISH SENIOR Elite champion Stevie McKenna hasn’t yet thrown a punch as a professional but he has already been sparring with most punters’ number-one fighter on the planet, Vasyl Lomachenko.

The 21-year-old Smithborough native, based in California alongside his younger brother, Aaron (6-0, 4KOs), last night did five rounds with ‘Loma’, Ukraine’s record-breaking two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-weight world champion.

Like his brother and Donegal middleweight Jason Quigley, McKenna has penned a management contract with Sheer Sports is expected to sign with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions in the coming weeks.

A pro debut for the former Commonwealth Youth Games champion and European Youth silver medalist will be determined in the coming weeks, but won’t take place until early in the new year at least: the McKenna brothers and their father and co-trainer, Fergal, are heading home to Monaghan tomorrow for Christmas.

original (4) Stevie, Aaron and Fergal McKenna ahead of Aaron's sixth pro fight earlier this month

They intend to keep training between now and their return to the States on 9 January, however, in order to hit the ground running in 2019.

Aaron, nicknamed ‘The Silencer’, was sparring his own high calibre of fighter yesterday in WBA number one-ranked welterweight Alexander Besputin (11-0, 9KOs). The 19-year-old aims to pick up his first minor title next year.

In his own rookie year, Stevie will look to emulate his brother in building early-career momentum with a series of wins Stateside.

The siblings recently added rap superstar Kendrick Lamar to their growing list of fans.

The King of Hip-Hop watched them spar in a California gym before attending Aaron’s sixth fight at Fantasy Springs Casino just under a fortnight ago.

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Kendrick Lamar comes to watch McKenna as Irish teenager lays waste to opponent in California

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