Stephen McKenna continues to demolish just about everyone who is put in front of him as he stopped Facundo Alberto Rojas of Argentina in the second round in the show-opener to the Billam-Smith Chamberlain bill in Bournemouth.
Rojas came with a record that said he had never been stopped and he was happy to trade with McKenna, even landing some decent shots, but the Irishman’s remarkable workrate and power proved too much, as Rojas was knocked down twice in the second round.
McKenna, as is the norm, just went for it from the opening bell, marching across the ring and throwing bombs at the Argentinian. Rojas stayed behind a high guard but threw back, catching McKenna, who tended to leave himself wide open.
It was the body shots that began to have an effect on Rojas, though, as he slowed later in the round.
Early in the second, McKenna caught Rojas with a huge right as the Argentinian backed into the ropes and, while the follow-up that sent him down landed behind the head, Rojas was counted.
McKenna went for the finish and Rojas did well to survive as long as he did. Eventually, two left hooks to the body saw him sink to the floor, just as the ten-second warning for the end of the round went. He beat the count but referee Mark Lyson waved it off and there was no complaint from Rojas, while McKenna took the opportunity to shout a challenge to Florian Marku down the camera lens “anytime, anywhere”.
There was one second remaining in the round. The super-lightweight fight was scheduled for eight rounds.
“I was not messing around in there,” McKenna, who is now 12-0, said. “I went in there and traded it out with him.
“Any fight you want to make, I will go in there and make it an entertaining fight for everyone. I want big fights, Marku, Conor Benn, anyone.”
Cruiserweight Mikael Lawal moved to 15-0 as he produced a crushing left hook to the body to knock out Crispulo Javier Andino, of Argentina, in the second round.
Lawal was warming up for an expected fight with Deion Jumah, who he had been due to face earlier this year before Covid intervened.
He looked content to get some rounds early on, but midway through the second round, he unleashed a left to the body that made Andino step back and then take a knee. In obvious pain, he then stayed down while referee John Latham completed the count. The time was 1:25.
“It was more of a learning thing for me, I wasn’t really trying to get him out of there,” Lawal said. “The shots I wasn’t even trying to take him out with were the ones that got him out of there.”
Lee Cutler, the Southern Area super-welterweight champion, moved his record on to 12-1 as he won a decision over Meshack Mwankemwa, of Tanzania, after a competitive six-rounder.
Cutler, whose sole career loss was a one-round blowout to Bradley Rea, worked hard but could not subdue Mwankemwa, who kept coming forward. In the final round, as the Tanzanian tried to pressure Cutler on the ropes, he was measured with a brilliant left hook that badly rocked him. Referee Mark Lyson scored it 58-56.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.