Portsmouth's Michael McKinson ready to 'shock the world' and upset odds after welterweight showdown with big-name American Vergil Ortiz Jr is confirmed

Mikey McKinson vowed to 'shock the world' and seize his 'life-changing opportunity with both hands'.

Saturday, 8th January 2022, 12:28 pm
Mikey McKinson, centre, with trainer and father Michael Ballingall, left, and fellow team member Gav Jones. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

The Pompey Problem is gearing up for his potential career-changing moment with a welterweight showdown against American knockout king Vergil Ortiz Jr confirmed for March 19 in the States.

Ferocious Ortiz Jr, with victories inside the distance in all 18 of his pro contests, has long been earmarked as one of the next big things Stateside.

But McKinson, 27, is adamant he has all the tools to pull off a massive shock when he takes on the fighter currently ranked number one in the WBO world rankings.

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Tricky southpaw McKinson, sitting third in the WBO rankings, is eyeing leapfrogging American powerhouse Ortiz Jr in those standings by inflicting his first pro defeat and becoming a big global name himself.

And after working his way from small hall prospect to top billing of a show in the States, the British welterweight hope is not about to let his 'opportunity of a lifetime' slip from his grasp.

McKinson told The News: ‘It’s a life-changing opportunity so I’m going to take it with both hands, prepare myself better than ever and go out there and be a problem for him and shock the world - that’s the plan.

‘It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. Not many people get an opportunity like this in their boxing career, like I say in all the interviews I have, the answer is always yes.

‘It’s a big thankyou to my management team, MTK Global, and obviously Matchroom for securing me this opportunity.

‘The fact is he’s (Ortiz Jr) never been in the ring with someone as hungry and as proud as I am so I’m a whole new test for him.

‘Obviously, yeah, it is a big jump up, but I’m a completely different test for him, it’s a step up for him as well. I’ll be there to give him lots and lots of problems, that I’m sure of.’

Some critics on social media have pointed to McKinson's return of just two knockout victories in his 21-0 pro record and claimed big puncher Ortiz Jr will come through the contest with flying colours.

But the Portsmouth-based fighter says outside noise in the build-up to his biggest career moment will mean nothing to him - and facing an opponent with more KO wins than himself is something he's more than used to.

He added: ‘The fact is everyone’s saying he’s knocked everyone out, but everybody I’ve ever been in the ring with in my pro career has had more knockouts than I have, it doesn’t mean anything.

‘Yeah, he’s a big puncher, but anyone can be a big puncher but when they’re in against me it’s not going to work in their favour.’