Pompey Problem out for recognition as he aims to gatecrash world scene with win against Russian danger man

Mikey McKinson readied himself for his latest title fight and demanded: Give me the credit I deserve.

Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 5:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th July 2019, 8:36 pm
Michael McKinson is aiming to make a statement against Evgeny Pavko Picture: Scott Rawsthorne MTK Global

The Problem puts his 16-fight unbeaten record on the line on Saturday night as he meets Russian knockout artist Evgeny Pavko for the WBO European title in Essex.

McKinson is aiming for a charge into the top 10 of the world rankings against an opponent who’s picked up early finishes in 13 of his 18 wins.

The 25-year-old will gain worldwide exposure with the MTK card show live on YouTube and in America on ESPN.

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And the Portsmouth stylist believes his efforts deserve recognition, as he aims to move another step closer to boxing’s big leagues - a path he feels will take him to greatness.

McKinson said: ‘I should be getting the credit now. I’m Portsmouth’s number one fighter.

‘I’m behind Tony Oakey, but beyond that what Portsmouth fighters in history have achieved more than me?

‘Tony used to sell the Mountbatten Centre out on his own! But I feel people need to get behind me now, because I’ve got the best shot at putting Portsmouth on the map.

‘There’s a lot of people who don’t want to give me the recognition in my town.

‘But Top Rank are publicising me and I’m headlining a show on ESPN, which is America’s biggest sporting channel.

‘I’m getting more recognition globally than I am in my home town!

‘I’m 25 though and I’m nowhere near where I can be. As long as I keep my head down, keep focussed and keep working hard I’ll get there - I’ll be a superstar in this game.’

The clash with such a dangerous puncher as Pavko may have raised some eyebrows, but McKinson feels he has to take such contests as he remains one of boxing’s avoided figures.

The welterweight’s slick hit-and-don’t-get-hit style is a nightmare for opponents, but the aim is keep chalking up the wins until he can’t be ignored any longer.

McKinson said: ‘This is a dangerous fight because nobody knows who he is – but he knocks people out.

‘The British guys we were trying to get didn’t want to know and I’m a fighter. Since I’ve turned pro we’ve never turned down a fight.

‘Boxers take opportunities even the challenge seems so big - you have to take the opportunities. I can, I have and I will.

‘I want to be in the fights with the big domestic names, but I’m an avoided man so it’s bitter-sweet really.

‘In May I crept inside the top 15 in the world with the WBO.

‘Freddy Kiwitt was told to fight me or get stripped. He chose not to fight me, so now I’m fighting for the vacant belt.

‘I can’t overlook Pavko because I need to do a job on him. He’s going to come with intentions of knocking me out. Let him try.

‘I need to look good again and concentrate on moving up those rankings until I can’t be ignored.’