'It's a massive night for him, Portsmouth and British boxing' - Matchroom Boxing supremo Eddie Hearn on Michael McKinson's big American shot at Vergil Ortiz Jr

Matchroom Boxing supremo Eddie Hearn spoke of his delight at being able to deliver Michael McKinson his biggest moment in the sport of boxing.

Saturday, 8th January 2022, 8:05 am
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, centre, gets his arm in the middle of a fiery face-off between Mikey McKinson, right, and Chris Kongo prior to their meeting last March. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

And Hearn told the Pompey Problem to 'go and shock the world' when he comes up against 'brutal' welterweight rival Vergil Ortiz Jr in America on March 19.

Hearn is in no doubt the size of task awaiting the tricky southpaw as he prepares to come against Ortiz Jr - long touted as a future American star - who has won all 18 of his professional bouts inside the distance.

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But Matchroom Boxing's main man Hearn believes just being able to make the fight happen has filled him with happiness having seen the path McKinson has taken to make it onto the biggest of stages.

Prior to his higher profile pro wins over Chris Kongo and Pole Przemyslaw Runowski on Matchroom shows in 2021, McKinson was a relatively unknown British welterweight – and has still gone largely under the radar.

But after announcing himself with two big wins last year, Hearn says it's great to see the British fighter ranked third in the WBO world rankings get his shot at American Ortiz Jr, 23, who currently tops the WBO standings.

And Hearn insists the 'payday' for McKinson, along with the chance to make himself a worldwide star is massive not only for him, but the city of Portsmouth he represents and British boxing as a whole.

The Matchroom Boxing chief said: ‘This is the fight that makes me most happiest. You get a kid like Mikey McKinson, with MTK (Global), boxed on MTK small hall shows, always as an opponent, always the away fighter, always having to take fights that people felt he shouldn’t have to take.

‘Let’s have it right, the opportunity is everything, but the payday is something that will secure Michael McKinson’s future and that is what the sport of boxing is all about.

‘You talk about Kash Farooq (announced his retirement from boxing aged 26 earlier this week), this is a short career, to see Michael McKinson go from where he was and go through what he was having to go through, to the biggest of stages and a huge payday - and an opportunity to become an overnight sensation - and beat Vergil Ortiz Jr.

‘Don’t get me wrong, I rate Vergil Ortiz so highly, but Michael McKinson has a style that is difficult for anyone and if he can get in a rhythm he can cause major problems to Ortiz Jr.

‘It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be brutal, but he has the opportunity and I’m so pleased to deliver it for him.

‘It’s a massive night for him, Portsmouth and British boxing. March 19 out there (in America), it’s going to be really tough for him, but he’s up for him and good luck to him, go and shock the world, son.’