Portsmouth boxing champion Mikey McKinson: ‘This success hasn’t been given, it’s been earned - I’ve had to do it harder than everyone else’
Mikey McKinson has longed for the recognition he is currently receiving within the boxing world.
But the Pompey Problem remains adamant his story in the sport is only just beginning.
The tricky southpaw, 27, last month took another huge step on his career journey, penning a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing.
McKinson caught the eye of one of the sport's leading promoters, beating Chris Kongo to claim the WBO Global welterweight belt on the Dillian Whyte v Alexander Povetkin II undercard with Hearn ringside in Gibraltar.
The opportunities and openings he is now seizing on are ones he has been forced to work harder than most to achieve, rising from small hall shows to finding himself in the spotlight today.
McKinson, with a 20-0 professional record, has passed every career test to date and collected WBC world youth, international silver as well WBO European and Global belts along the way.
And with management company MTK Global and Matchroom Boxing looking after his affairs, he is now 'excited' to see what lies ahead.
But no matter what deals or distractions come his way, McKinson says he'll stick to the basic principles that have helped him reach this point.
'I’m on a platform I want to be on now, but I’m nowhere near where I want to be,’ he told The News.
‘There’s still so much hard work to do but I feel like I’m on the right track now.
‘I’ve got to take myself to the next level now. I’m learning each fight I have, and you can see I’m getting better and better.
‘I’m learning a lot, I’m learning a lot about myself, so it’s all about keep developing, keep learning, keep my head down and keep doing as I’m told and who knows where I could be this time next year.
‘I think this is the year of McKinson, this is my big year to make things happen. I’m with the best team about now so I’m happy.
‘I went six-and-a-half years of not really being where I wanted to be to ‘bang’, straight where I want to be - it’s a lot of hard work.
'The thing is this success, it hasn’t been given, it’s been earned - I’ve had to do it harder than everyone else. It feels so good, it feels even more sweet to finally be here.'
Having now signed with Matchroom Boxing, McKinson is eagerly anticipating what path both his promoters and management team at MTK Global have in store for him.
Hearn has already said the southpaw is at 'world level' and is eyeing a 'Fratton Park blockbuster' for the fighter who is now part of his label.
McKinson revealed the plan is to get him out again in 'July or August' with a further two fights arriving within 10 months of his next bout.
Now up to number four in the latest WBO world rankings, he knows things are only going to get tougher moving forward.
But he cannot wait to see what materialises over the next 12 months - and a potential dream night in front of a raucous Fratton Park crowd a step closer to becoming a reality.
McKinson said: ‘I don’t actually know the plan is for me. In all honesty, I don’t know if he’ll put me in with the British guys because we’re all under the same banner.
‘It’d be good if we all fought each other, wouldn’t it? It’d be something I’d like.
‘I’ve just got to put trust - I trust MTK anyway in supporting through this - it’s all down to them and I’ve got full trust in them guiding my career, both MTK and Matchroom now.
‘I’ll just do as I’m told and I’m finally at a stage where I trust the process.
‘That’s always been the dream (fighting at Fratton Park).
‘It’s only ever been spoken about and people trying to push it and things like that. Now that dream is proper alive, it’s alive and he’s said it, so it’s in touching distance.
‘I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing, keep winning is the main thing, and I’ll be pestering him next year.
‘As long as I do my job then he’s got to do his!'