Askin title challenge ends in narrow loss

Askin - points loss
Askin - points loss
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Blackpool boxer Matty Askin suffered the heartache and pain of a defeat as he was on the wrong end of majority points decision in an epic, full-blooded encounter as he lost a British and Commonwealth cruiserweight title fight against Ovill McKenzie at York Hall, Bethnal Green

It had looked good for Askin in the early stages of the 12-rounder as he established control but McKenzie came on the stronger in the second half of the fight, the Blackpool boxer’s cause not helped by having two points deducted for persistent holding

Askin tired in the latter rounds as McKenzie hurt his man, and in the 10th the Blackpool man teetered on the brink of being stopped in the face of all-out assault by the big-punching McKenzie.

By the end of the fifth, it could be argued that Askin had won every round up to that point and it looked as though the coveted belts were on their way back to Blackpool.

McKenzie’s early travails were compounded by him having a point taken off him by referee Marcus McDonnnell for hitting Askin on the back of the head illegally.

There had been few signs in the early rounds of McKenzie’s renowned punch power as Askin asserted.

But McKenzie, Jamaican-born and based in Derby, belied any suggestion that he would be inconvenienced by the fight going the full distance.

Rounds seven and eight were when it started to unravel for Askin as he had points deducted for holding on - a third warning would have been his last as he would have been thrown out, so he was dicing with danger,

Dangerous too were McKenzie’s fistic assaults, particularly in round 10 when it looked as though he would take Askin out.

Askin weathered that storm - just - but having his first fight in over a year, the English champion started to look spent.

He was urged by his corner for one last effort, but he couldn’t summon enough to impress two of the judges.

For what it is worth, The Gazette card had it 116-115 to McKenzie, having had it 50-46 by the end of the fifth to Askin, giving some indication of how the champ forged back.

As for the men that mattered, the three judges, Victor Loughran gave it to Askin 114-113, while Dave Parris and Bob Williams had it respectively 119-116 and 115-111 to McKenzie.

Askin said afterwards did not have any real qualms with the verdict, but said: “Even his (McKenzie’s) trainer said he thought I had nicked it.

“I was trying to get in close to McKenzie, but by the time I got in, the referee wasn’t allowing me to work.”

Now there is talk of a re-match between the pair, and though this battle did not have a lot of the sweet science, it was enthralling to watch and another contest would be a tremendous idea.

Veteran warrior McKenzie says he is not averse to giving Askin another shot, but he is keen on a world title fight with Marco Huck.

McKenzie said: “If it (a re-match) comes, I wouldn’t turn it down, but I would like to box Marco Huck for the world title.”