Michael McKinson is ready for the toughest fight of his career on the biggest-ever weekend of boxing for Portsmouth.
The Problem believes he stands on the brink of his breakthrough into boxing’s big leagues ahead of his showdown with danger man Ryan Kelly on March 9.
McKinson will make the third defence of his WBC international silver welterweight title in Essex against the big-punching Birmingham man.
The 24-year-old forms part of a huge 24 hours for the area, as he follows on from his brother Lucas Ballingall fighting Archie Sharp for the WBO European super-featherweight title at the Royal Albert Hall the previous evening.
Both Danny Couzens and Dave Birmingham are also in Southern Area title fights on the same night as McKinson in Bethnal Green.
It could prove to a period for savour, but McKinson is the only boxer currently in possession of a title.
And the classy stylist knows he will need to be at his best to keep that belt and march on to a big 2019.
McKinson said: ‘It’s much harder than any fight I’ve had.
‘It’s definitely another step up and a move in the right direction.
‘He’s not a major name or the type of name I want to be in the ring with.
‘But it’s a lot tougher than any test I’ve had to date
‘It’s a dangerous fight and I have to be in the best condition I’ve ever been in on March 9.
‘I’m the only one in this area with a belt.
‘But after that weekend there could be four of us.
‘We’re all in title fights. It’s going to be such a big weekend for Portsmouth.’
McKinson admitted the past couple of months have tested his mind set after gaining TV exposure and schooling former Team GB amateur Sam McNess in London.
That didn’t open the doors he expected, but the former Moneyfields man is ready to bang it down this year.
He added: ‘After the last win I was up to sixth in the country.
‘It was a real dominant performance after few people in the boxing world gave me a chance.
‘I proved a lot of people wrong and I felt I was close to getting a big name.
‘But people have stayed clear of me and it did become a bit frustrating.
‘I’ve been calling people out but then my team at MTK Global got this fight for me.
‘He’s an avoided opponent as well because he’s a dangerous puncher coming down from super-welterweight.
‘I’ve never been one to turn down a fight or avoid anybody, so I’m going to put on a good performance and look forward to big names to come.
‘People can’t avoid me for much longer.
‘I’m going to show my level and this is going to be the year of McKinson.’