Irish KO artist Stevie McKenna remains in hot pursuit of Conor Benn and feels his heavy hands can derail the world title aspirations of the popular Essex puncher.

Having shrugged off a recent bout with Covid-19, welterweight Benn meets Adrian Granados tonight in a rescheduled fight on the Warrington-Lara II undercard in Leeds. Next Friday, County Monaghan ‘Hitman’ McKenna (8-0, 8 KOs) will also return to action when he clashes with Frenchman Moussa Gary (11-3-2, 1 KO) on a Mick Hennessy bill at the Skydome in Coventry, televised live on Channel 5 in the UK.

While McKenna does not share Benn’s professional experience, he has sparred and held his own with leading fighters like Josh Taylor, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Jose Ramirez and Ryan Garcia. He believes he is already equipped to thwart the touted Benn despite their differing rungs on the world title ladder.

“I want to get to Conor Benn before somebody else does,” said McKenna, 24, who boasts a fine amateur pedigree as a Commonwealth Youth champion and European Youth finalist. “I’m sure it’s a fight the fans would love to see, probably next year. My style, my physicality, would prove far too much. I’m 6ft 1, huge at 147 where he’s very small for the weight. He might have 18 pro fights on his record but he’s not been fighting high calibre and, unlike me, Benn has nominal amateur pedigree.

“He’ll never have come across anything as hard-hitting as me. He’s wild, easy to hit and he’ll be feeling it whenever I connect. His dad’s career was finished by a man from the south of Ireland [Steve Collins] so they’ll no doubt be coming for revenge. I’ll happily oblige.

“The power is very real. It’s down to years of hard work plus my natural leverage. It’s a combination of precision, timing, speed and accuracy. Plus mindset. You obviously hope everyone goes home safely to their family but, it’s the hurt business and, whenever I step inside that ring, my aim is to throw every punch with bad intent. If I stun them, I look to take their head off.”

Main image: Hennessy Sports/Lawrence Lustig.