By Jake Donovan
Aspiring cruiserweight contenders Matty Askin and Ovill McKenzie both made weight for their regional title tilt Friday evening at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, England.
Askin tipped the scales at 199.8 lbs., just under the cruiserweight limit. McKenzie was came in at a fighting ready 196 lbs. for Friday’s affair, which airs live on BoxNation in the United Kingdom.
It’s been a rough transition from rising prospect to the big stage on which Askin (17-2, 10KOs) looks to appear. The 26 year old carries a three-fight win streak, but was at his most vulnerable in step-up fights versus countryman Jon-Lewis Dickinson and unbeaten Polish contender Krzystof Glowacki, the latter whom will challenge Marco Huck for a cruiserweight title late this spring.
Dreams of a title shot for Askin remain on hold until able to conquer tests like what’s in front of him. To his credit, the six-plus year ring pro was ready for this fight for months, but has endured three separate delays well beyond his control.
The push back forced Askin to sit on a 9th round knockout win over Menay Edwards for nearly a full year. The bout was a breakthrough performance, but also carrying emotional aftermath as Edwards was hospitalized from punishment endured in the bout.
Askin visited his fallen foe in the hospital and took time to clear his head, but the past several months have been spent playing the waiting game.
McKenzie (23-12, 12KOs) is a late bloomer whose late success is a bit Glen Johnson-esque. The 35-year old veteran spoiler—aptly nicknamed “The Upsetter” has long been a tough out save for the occasional hiccup, but proved his worth in a pair of honorable showings versus then-unbeaten light heavyweight contender Tony Bellew.
What really put the transplanted Jamaican on the map was back-to-back knockout wins over Tony Dodson and Enzo Maccarinelli in 2012. The latter was laced in controversy, as referee Ian John Lewis suffered from an itchy trigger finger in prematurely stopping the Nov. ’12 clash inside of two rounds after McKenzie—outboxed in the opening round—managed to rock Maccarinelli.
McKenzie was unable to recapture the magic in their rematch, a give-and-take affair resulting in Maccarinelli exacting revenge with an 11th round stoppage. Two straight wins have followed for McKenzie, including a 2nd round knockout of Dickinson in his most recent ring appearance last June.
• Tom Baker (10-0, 2KOs) and Kevin Greenwood (6-4, 1KO) both tipped the scales at 168 lbs. for their scheduled 10-round regional title fight
• Miles Shinkwin (9-0, 3KOs) weighed in at 173.9 lbs. for his 10-round light heavyweight clash with Richard Horton (9-2, 2KOs), who checked in at 172.7 lbs.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox