No one can touch The Problem in Portsmouth boxing over the last decade

Mikey McKinson has been lauded as the undisputed trailblazer for Portsmouth boxing.

Monday, 15th July 2019, 5:37 pm
Updated Monday, 15th July 2019, 6:06 pm
Mikey Mckinson celebrates his victory over Ryan Kelly. Picture: Scott Rawsthorne/ MTK Global

And the fight fraternity have been told to recognise The Problem as the city’s biggest boxing success of the last decade.

McKinson puts his unbeaten 16-fight record on the line on Saturday night when he faces Russian knockout merchant Evgeny Pavko in Essex.

The WBO European welterweight title is at stake as the 26-year-old aims to continue his march up the world rankings, with the contest screened in the US as well as YouTube.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

McKinson’s father, Michael Ballingall, is adamant his son’s success is now matching that of the city’s most famous boxing son, Tony Oakey, as he made his WBU breakthrough 17 years ago in a pro career which lasted until 2010.

He said: ‘Mikey is leading the way - he’s Portsmouth’s current reigning boxing king by far.

‘Winning the WBO European title puts him right up the world rankings - and he’s already number 15.

‘I always felt it was going to be a harder route for Mikey, but he’s beginning to get there and (promoters)  MTK can help him to the next level.

‘It’s all about taking the opportunities as soon as they get offered.

‘Mikey McKinson stands alone at the moment and everyone else are on the platform below, and that includes my other son Lucas.

‘Lucas’ opportunities haven’t quite happened yet, but they will come.

‘But he’s not near his brother yet, no one is near Mikey. There’s not even a threat really. That’s the reality.

‘He’s fighting someone whose knocked out 13 lads from his 18 wins. His record speaks for itself - he’s dangerous.

‘I feel Mikey is at the stage now where Tony (Oakey) was when he won the WBU title.

‘I think it’s time people realised and accepted there’s no one to touch Mikey here at the moment.’

There’s little doubt McKinson’s slick and tricky style has made him one of the most avoided names in British boxing today.

Ballingall explained the likes of Connor Benn and previous WBO European champ Freddy Kiwitt are among those to give the Portsmouth man a wide berth.

He added:‘Mikey was due to fight Freddie Kiwitt, but he didn’t want to so he was stripped of the belt.

‘Before that it was Paddy Gallagher until he lost to Kiwitt, but once that happened Kiwitt blatantly didn’t want to fight Mikey.

‘Connor Benn has himself admitted he’s staying well clear of Mikey, who would’ve been a good scalp to take.

‘Whatever people say, Connor is not in Mikey’s league and I don’t think he’d say he was.

‘He’s admitted he doesn't want the fight so there’s no point in chasing the fight anymore.

‘Mikey isn’t frightened of anyone and fighting away from home makes him thrive. He loves proving people wrong.’