Kenny Larson has been awesome during the start to his professional boxing career. The welterweight division contender is 6-0 with five first-round knockouts and one unanimous decision.
Larson, who trains at the Broadway Boxing Club in Everett under the guidance of coaches Joe Ricciardi and Dennis Willcox, is preparing for his biggest test to-date.
Larson will be fighting in the main event at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield Saturday (March 11) against Massachusetts state welterweight champion Denzel Whitley (10-0-0, 6 KOs). The New England title will also be on the line.
“This is the biggest fight of my career and my life,” said Larson, who is 5-feet-6 and competes in the 147-pound division.
The 33-year-old fighter is confident he can hand Whitley his first loss as a pro.
“His record looks good, but I feel like he hasn’t faced any real competition,” said Larson. “I’m just going to go right at him.”
Larson said his style of fighting differs from that of his opponent.
“They describe him [Whitley] as an elusive counter-puncher. He likes to sit back and pick perfect shots. That’s the complete opposite of my style. I’m an aggressive, pressure fighter and I’m going to overwhelm him,” said Larson.
Always the Plan to Turn Pro
Larson competed in 30 amateur fights, traveling to Ireland for a few of his bouts. He captured a New England Golden Gloves title in 2016. Last November, he made the decision to turn professional.
“That was always my plan to turn pro – I was just waiting for the right time, and I think I’m with the right team and the right crew,” said Larson, who is an electrician by trade. “They say, ‘when you know, you know,’ and I felt like if I’m going to take a shot at it, this is the crew I want to be with in Dennis and Joe. I couldn’t ask for a better pair and I know they have my back wholeheartedly and want nothing but the best for me. I’m representing them and they’re representing me.”
Said Willcox, whose son, Shea, is also a promising boxer, “Kenny’s worked hard. He’s been boxing for a long time. He lives clean outside the gym. He trains hard, so I’m confident he can pull it off and bring the title back to Everett. Kenny’s style is definitely made to shock opponents like Denzel Whitley.”
Proud of his Nickname and his Irish Heritage
Larson is proud of his boxing nickname, which is “Lionheart.”
“I fought in the Golden Gloves and this guy said, ‘hey kid, you fight with the heart of a lion, when you turn professional, I’ll come watch you fight, so I couldn’t think of a better name to call myself. I feel the name fits me well.”
Fighting six days ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, Larson will pay tribute to his Irish heritage by wearing a custom-made plaid kilt and plaid trunks.
His Focus is on the Fight
Kenny Larson said he is not looking past his undefeated opponent.
“I’m not going to think too far ahead. Right now, my goal is to bring that title back to the North Shore. My mission, my focus is to just get rid of Whitley.”
Larson will have plenty of support in Springfield. “My mother [Shelly Shea] and my uncle [Ralph Shea] will be there. I’ll have a big crowd out there with a lot of friends and family.”