WORCESTER — Like many kids, Keno Luna loved to play video games.
And Luna’s mom was fine – to a point – with letting her then 10-year-old son hunker down with his PlayStation 3 and immerse himself in personal favorites Grand Theft Auto and Madden NFL.
“My mom was very strict on me playing video games,” Luna, 21, recalled. “I could only play an hour a day.
“My uncle showed up one day and said, ‘You look bored. You can’t play your video games, so let me take you to the gym.’ He was a boxing coach, so he actually got me into it. And I’ve stuck with it ever since.”
Luna will make his pro boxing debut following an accomplished amateur career when he meets journeyman Moises Rivera of Boston in a scheduled four-round welterweight bout on Friday at Pandemonium at the Palladium 2 here in his adopted hometown.
Worcester will also be represented by light heavyweight Kendrick “Peppa” Ball Jr. and junior middleweight Khiary “Too Sharp” Gray on the terrific and talent-laden, 13-fight card put together by Granite Chin Productions.
“This is like a dream come true,” said Luna, who moved to Worcester with his family from Framingham seven years ago and graduated from North High in 2021. “I’ve just been training hard all these years and I’m finally taking the next step in my career.
“Fighting in my city for my first professional bout, I love it, and in front of all my people, all my supporters are going to be there for me. And we’re just ready; we’re ready.”
Luna didn’t immediately take to boxing as he took exception to being hit.
But he slowly gained a love for the sport that not even a brief hiatus could suppress.
“I was like, ‘I really do miss boxing,’ so I went back,” Luna said. “And I’ve been here ever since.”Luna went on to compile a record of 67-18 (.788) as a well-traveled amateur, winning five Silver Mittens championships and four New England Golden Gloves titles, the last coming earlier this year.
This 5-foot-8-½ southpaw is a defense-first fighter who excels at avoiding punches because he still, wisely, has yet to take a liking to absorbing body blows.
“I’m more of a boxer than a brawler,” Luna said. “I like hitting you, getting out, getting back in. I don’t stand there and just brawl with you. That’s not my way of fighting.
“I’m like a mini-Manny Pacquiao, that’s what they call me. That’s who they compare me to, to his style.”
Luna’s last fight was at the National Golden Gloves Championships, which served as the Olympic qualifier for the 2024 Summer Games, in Philadelphia in May. He was eliminated in the second round in the 147-pound division.
“I just came up short,” Luna said. “I didn’t want to wait another four years until the 2028 Olympics. I’m already 21, so I decided, ‘Yeah, let’s go pro now.’ ”
Luna, who currently is a union roofer and in search of a promoter, has trained under the watchful eye of Chico Lopez at Camp Get Right Boxing Gym for…
Read More: Worcester’s Luna set for pro boxing debut on Friday’s Palladium card 2023-12-04 17:34:17