Portsmouth marching army to roar on McKinson’s bid to charge into world elite

Mikey  McKinson (left)
Mikey McKinson (left)
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Mikey McKinson will be roared on by a Portsmouth marching army as he bids to complete a charge into world elite level.

The Pompey Problem can gatecrash the top-10 rankings as he faces the toughest assignment of career against unbeaten Argentinian hope Luis Alberto Veron on Saturday night in London.

And the slick welterweight will be backed by hundreds of raucous supporters who are making the trip up the A3 to the York Hall - the home of British boxing.

The scenes in the East End of the capital will awaken memories of the glory days of Portsmouth’s favourite boxing son Tony Oakey 17 years ago, who enjoyed some glory nights at the same venue.

McKinson’s reward for victory against one of the big South American boxing hopes will be a single-digit status in the WBO rankings, one of the four premier world titles.

That would leave him rubbing shoulders with some huge names, with pound-for-pound superstar Terence Crawford the current WBO champion, and potentially open the door for some massive fights in 2020.

First, though, McKinson has to overcome the biggest challenge of his life in front of his partisan support.

He said: 'The stakes are high.

'If I was to take this guy's ranking it could pave the way for a life-changing fight.

'It will put me right in the picture so it shows you what is at stake.

'A good ranking with the WBO could change everything for me. It's exciting times.

'So I have to win this fight. Veron is ranked ahead of me and is unbeaten.

'He's not come halfway across the world to lose his '0'. 

'I've more than doubled my biggest ticket sales for this contest.

'People are really getting behind me now and it's brilliant to see.

'The Pompey fans are behind me now and they are known for their passionate support.

'The football club have also got right behind me, too, and that's appreciated.

'My fans are already known for how noisy they are and I've no doubt they're going to blow the roof off the York Hall.'

McKinson's camp has seen him travel to Bilbao in Spain for sparring with hard-hitting former European champ Kerman Lejarraga.

Then he flew Stateside for a stints in Philadelphia and New Jersey which provided an invaluable experience.

That sees the 25-year-old take on Veron in the best shape of his career.

Mckinson added: 'We've done our homework on Veron. He's got a good jab and a good engine.

'But this is the best preparation I've ever had for this fight.

'I started my training with Kerman Lejarraga in Spain for two weeks. He's got world-class punching power.

'I was the only who spoke English there but I earned all of their respect.

'Then I finished in Philadelphia on my own in really hostile gyms. It was like when Rocky went into Apollo Creed's gym!

'So I had to earn their respect, too, but I did just that. I did all that on my own.

'I've never had preparations as good as this, but I need to be at my best for this test. 

'Now I have to show what I can do against Veron.'

McKinson's fight with Veron will be shown on ESPN+ and online at iFL TV on YouTube.