Pompey diary: How Blues are boxing clever with Kev the Kitman

Pompey kitman Kev McCormack boxes Dion Donohue
Pompey kitman Kev McCormack boxes Dion Donohue
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His name stands among some of the sport's best super-heavyweights in the past 30 years.

On the list he's rubbing shoulders with Tyson Fury, David Price, Audley Harrison and, best of all, Anthony Joshua.

During his sterling amateur career, he stood toe-to-toe with the best in the world at the Commonwealth Games in 1994 and the European Champions a year prior.

Now Kev McCormack can add Dion Donohue, Tom Naylor, Louis Dennis, Oli Hawkins and Christian Burgess to the list of his opponents.

The Blues players braved meeting the kitman at close quarters - and, to their credit, all relished the battle.

All five weren't afraid to engage with the Welshman - Hawkins, in particular, was chasing the killer blow. But, to be fair to McCormack, every time one of the players landed a shot, he'd match it with an open-glove punch which he could have made so much more powerful and finished the bout emphatically.

The five players had to meet the three-time ABA super-heavyweight champion because they lost the football tennis tournament hosted by boss Kenny Jackett.

With alcohol banned, as well as golf, archery and other activities at Pompey's Fota Island base, it was an ideal way to build spirit.

The football tennis competition in itself proved just as engrossing as the players got into the Wimbledon spirit.

Christian Burgess was like John McEnroe - competitive and disputing every close decision that went against him.

Jack Whatmough, on the other hand, was the Nick Kyrgios of the group.

Although still trying to win, his priority was to antogonise his team-mates at any opportunity available.

It led perfectly into England's World Cup last-16 clash against Colombia.

The majority of the Pompey squad gathered in the golf club, with Conor Chaplin proudly donning his England shirt.

Hawkins slammed his hand down furiously when Yerry Mina snatched a  stoppage-time equaliser.

But wild celebrations sparked after Eric Dier sent the Three Lions into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006.

Unlike the boozers back home, there was of course no beer sprayed in celebration – although a glass or two of tap water was threatened as the players rowdily rejoiced.