At the Echo Arena in Liverpool, Aaron McKenna (18-0, 9 KO’s) had been due to box former British middleweight title challenger Linus Udofia in an important domestic clash. Udofia’s late withdrawal through injury meant that the unbeaten 24-year-old Irishman instead took on Mickey Ellison (14-7, 5 KO’s) in a hastily arranged fight made at 171lbs.
Ellison - a former Central Area light heavyweight champion - spent Christmas preparing for a fight with unbeaten puncher Costas Nanga in Sweden but when that fight was cancelled due to a problem with paperwork, the 33-year-old jumped at the chance to take on the hot prospect.
McKenna is usually the aggressor in his fights, but Ellison leapt off his stool and looked to impose himself on the naturally smaller man. Although the more agricultural of the two, Ellison let his right hand go whenever he could, falling short with it regularly but landing his share and also finding a home for a short right uppercut. McKenna reigned in his natural inclination to fight fire with fire and calmly moved away and picked clean shots when he could.
He came out for the second round looking to impose himself a little. He landed a nice left hook to the body and also a clean right hand. Ellison switched his attack to the body, concentrating on landing a stabbing jab to stomach but McKenna quickly worked that out and fired a right hand over the top.
Ellison began reaching and falling short as McKenna looked to be biding his time and waiting for the bigger man to tire. Ellison momentarily went back on his heels after a right hand but on the whole, McKenna kept it simple. Employing plenty of movement and when he did pause to punch, he kept a tight defense, moved his head and used sharp, straight punches.
There was a change in the fourth. McKenna began to get on the front foot. He fired in the jab from his shoulder and easily blocked the clubbing hooks that came his way in return. Feeling the effects of making the weight on short notice, Ellsion started to slow down, and McKenna began to have his way in the fifth. The jab was now a hurtful weapon and just to make his task even more difficult, Ellison seemed to have suffered a damaged right hand.
There were serious discussions about pulling Ellison out before the sixth, but he came out behind the jab. That wasn’t enough to keep McKenna off. He trapped Ellison in the corner and found an accurate, two crisp right hands forced referee Mark Lyson to stop the fight after 2:21 of the sixth.