Former British champ’s a belter for McKinson

Mikey McKinson clashes with Sam McNess on BoxNation this Friday. Picture: Neil Marshall
Mikey McKinson clashes with Sam McNess on BoxNation this Friday. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Former British champion Craig Watson will carry Mikey McKinson’s belt to the ring on Friday night.

And that will see the Manchester favourite make good on a promise with the Pompey Problem which has been nine years in the making.

McKinson will gain his maiden TV exposure on BoxNation when he clashes with Londoner Sammy McNess for the WBC international silver welterweight title.

The 24-year-old is aiming to extend his 14-0 record in his toughest assignment to date - a clash the Portsmouth boxer believes he enters as underdog.

But McKinson will be able to call on Watson’s support for the showdown in a poetic turn of events.

The former Moneyfields talent and brother Lucas Ballingall were asked to carry Watson’s Commonwealth title to the ring when he met John O’Donnell at the same York Hall venue where McKinson steps out.

It was on that night in 2009 a promise was made the roles would be reversed one day in the future.

McKinson said: ‘Nine years ago Craig Watson was Commonwealth champion.

‘My dad was part of his team and helped in his corner.

‘He let me and my brother walk out with his Commonwealth title on TV at York Hall.

‘We carried his belt out and we made a bet that one day he had to do it for me.

‘On Friday night Craig carries my belt out at the York Hall on TV.

‘It’s a good story and Craig is another person I have to deliver for.

‘I see myself as an underdog for the fight.

‘I’ve been into the lion’s den before when people give me no chance. I get the job done.

‘I was the underdog in the Colin Lynes fight last year. I thrive off it.

‘I’m asking for these fights. What type of person would I be if I defended my belt against a nobody.

'I know I’ve got something to lose - and that brings pressure.

‘It’s my belt and it’s not going anywhere.’

A win for McKinson over former GB boxer McNess would aid his charge up the domestic rankings.

He currently sits 10th in the domestic welterweight picture, but is aware his profile doesn’t match that standing outside of the city.

That's providing a motivation going into the McNess match-up.

McKinson added: ‘I’ve got a great platform at MTK where I can gain exposure now.

‘I’ve been a pro four years and, to be fair, there’s not really that many people outside of ‘Portsmouth who know who I am. They are going to find out on Friday night.

‘I know the city is getting behind me, but I don’t think many people outside of it give me a chance.

‘I’m boxing on TV and I’ve got to put on a real, good display.

‘I’m in the top 10 now, but I’m the least known boxer in it and have had the least exposure out of all of the rest.

‘Most people don’t know who I am, but I believe the names above me will be talking about me after this fight.

‘I’m a young lad working hard trying to make something of myself.’