The town of Larne is home to former flyweight World champion and Irish boxing legend Dave Boy McAuley and there may be another champion coming through in the form of young Kelvin McDonald.
The teenage talent makes his professional debut in Belfast on Saturday November 17th and there are high hopes for McDonald ahead of his pro bow at the Shorts Sports and Recreation Club on the Holywood Road. ‘Boom Boom’ features in a four-round contest on the ‘Back In Belfast’ bill which is headlined by former British and Commonwealth title challenger Luke Wilton and the youngster fulfils a dream in the process.
While he was an amateur boxer for over a decade, McDonald admits that it was never his scene. The Olympics were never a goal for the Larne lad and a pro move always seemed inevitable. After narrowly missing out on the Commonwealth Youth Games last year, a hungry McDonald entered the unlicensed circuit but was recently plucked by Boxing Ireland Promotions and will shortly make his debut.
It’s the perfect turn of events for McDonald who admits that “I’ve always wanted to turn pro ever since I was young it was all just a dream and thanks to Boxing Ireland Promotions for making it come true. I’ve never had the motivation for the amateurs, I never had a goal set like Olympics or nothing, it never really motivated me but turning pro did. I’ve been boxing since I was eight years old, I’ve had over 100 fights in the vest, and won championships right through schoolboys. I’ve beaten some high quality opponents and made the final of the Youth Commonwealth Games qualifiers where I was by a quality boxer in Dominic Bradley who ended up captain of the team.”
As he has said, the amateurs did not suit McDonald, with the restrictive format constraining the born entertainer. On the unlicensed circuit the charismatic Ulsterman has enjoyed a lot of success and turned many heads, something he hopes to bring into the pros. The 19-year-old notes how “my fighting style, let’s just say it’s exciting, you won’t ever see me in a boring fight. I like to give fans their money’s worth, I’m either on the back foot counter punching, nice and stylish, or I’m coming to take your head off and in brawl I can do both.”
“For the pros I don’t think I’m gonna have to change to much from how I am now, everyone has always said my style suits the pros more with the amateurs I was only ever getting started in the third round and waking up. My biggest thing I would need to work on is getting fitter and once I have that box ticked there won’t be nothing that will stop me.”
Most new pros, especially those as young as McDonald, will look to bide their time and build quietly under the radar but, again, ‘Boom Boom’ does things a little differently. The confident kid seems to know the value of standing out has already caused a stir within Irish boxing, calling out some of his fellow new pros.
The excitable McDonald outlined how “I want a domestic fight. Jamie Douglas is out there for me I fought him in the semi pros and he thinks he beat me and many think different so I want the rematch. Ruadhan Farrell is another fight I want in the future and one me and Boxing Ireland Promotions are happy I’ll win and one we know that we can make.”
“My short term goal would be get a few fights under my belt with journeymen and then start to look at the domestic fights out there for myself. Many fighters have dreams of boxing in America but I’ve two venues I would love to box at and they would have to be the Odyssey Arena and the York Hall. The long term goal I have – definitely win an Irish or Celtic title, that would be like a world title to me and mean so much.”
The man tasked with keeping a leash on McDonald and guiding him through the murky pro scene is Boxing Ireland Promotions boss Leonard Gunning and the fight manager said that “I’m really excited to see the debut of Larne’s Kelvin McDonald. Kelvin has been really impressive on the unlicensed circuit and is really hungry to cut his teeth with the big boys in the pro game. Let’s get through the debut and we’ll see where things go, he’s a top kid!”
The Luke Wilton headlined card on November 17th also features a full undercard alongside McDonald. Also making a debut is Belfast super flyweight Cathy McAleer, the first Northern Irish female pro in almost 20 years, and there are further appearances from Antrim Town cruiserweight Conor Cooke, Lenadoon cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy, Belfast welterweight Tony Nellins, and Scottish cruiserweight David Jamieson.
Tickets for the night are £30 (unreserved) and £40 (ringside) and are available from all the boxers involved. Kelvin McKenzie can be contracted through his social media or by ringing him at 07709886872.