Askin vowing to claim British title

Askin and McKenzie square up at the weigh-in
Askin and McKenzie square up at the weigh-in
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Matty Askin is aiming to shock champion Ovill McKenzie - and the bookies - when the two boxers meet for what promises to be an explosive set-to for the British and Commonwealth cruiserweight titles at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Friday night.

Askin is the clear underdog with the odds-makers in the run-up to what has all the makings of a thriller, with both fighters packing a punch, making it doubtful that the bout will go the full 12 rounds.

The Blackpool boxer said: “People are going to be surprised at how good I will look.

“I have had to leave my family to train properly for this and I am really focused.

“The belts will be good to have to bring back to Blackpool, but I am not thinking about them - it is just a fight that I am going all out to win.”

At the pre-fight weigh-in, Askin tipped the scales at 14st 3lb, while McKenzie was 14-stone.

At 6ft 4in, Askin, nicknamed The Assassin, has a four-inch height advantage over his hard-punching adversary.

Askin has happy memories of Friday night’s London venue - it was there in 2008 that he won the Amateur Boxing Association cruiserweight title.

He said: “I am looking forward to fighting again in one of Britain’s best boxing venues.”

Defending champion McKenzie, nicknamed The Upsetter, is one of the more colourful characters on the British boxing scene.

Born in a rough area of Kingston, Jamaica, he left school at the age of 13, selling food on the streets and using his fists to defend himself against interlopers.

He didn’t begin boxing until he was 18 and after emigrating to England, he had his first professional contest in 2003.

McKenzie, who is now based in Derby, began with decidedly mixed results before gaining, losing and then regaining the Commonwealth light-heavyweight title.

He stepped up to cruiserweight, winning Prizefighter in that division, before annexing the British and Commonwealth title, which are on the line on Friday.