BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Chris Kongo will defend his WBO Global welterweight title on March 6 – with challenger Michael McKinson supremly confident of upsetting the South Londoner’s plans.
Bermondsey’s Kongo produced a career-best display to claim the belt by knocking out Luther Clay in the ninth round in August on the undercard of Dillian Whyte’s clash with Alexander Povetkin.
And the former Fisher amateur (12-0) will once again be on the support for Whyte’s rematch against the Russian.
Portsmouth’s McKinson is 19-0 in the paid ranks and is planning to live up to his nickname of ‘The Problem’.
“You can’t really knock what I’ve done in boxing,” he told iFLTV. “I’ve done it the hard way. My last five opponents have had a combined record of 75 wins and three or four losses, or something like that.
“This is my golden ticket.
“Chris Kongo is a very big welterweight. He is strong and sharp. I’ve only fought one person above six foot. It’s a new challenge for me but I’m a special fighter, I can adapt.
“By March 6 I’ll be prepared to go through hell and back to get that win.
“Chris Kongo has had one 50-50 fight, on paper, and he beat Luther Clay, who is very limited. I’ve been having these tough fights for four years now – this will be about my eighth or ninth 50-50. I’ve been around the game, I’m experienced.
“I’m not Luther Clay. There are levels to this game and Chris Kongo is going to be in for a big, big shock.”
Kongo appears to be the one who carries the power – with seven stoppages on his record.
McKinson has been the distance in all but two of his bouts.
Kongo is ranked 13th in the world by the WBO and his impressive performance last time out means another peak slot on Matchroom Boxing’s pay-per-view event, which will be on Sky Box Office.
McKinson said: “I deserve a big fight more than anyone else. I was born to be on the big stage and successful.
“I’m looking forward to proving people wrong. I’m the most real fighter in that welterweight division.
“Since my last fight the main name I’ve called out straight after that is Chris Kongo. This is something that I want. It’s the boys who are on the big stage that I want and need for my career. When I go over to Matchroom and beat up Chris Kongo, Eddie Hearn isn’t going to want me anywhere near Conor Benn. I know the stakes are high for this fight. For the next six weeks I’m going to be obssessed by him [Kongo].
“I ran on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. I’ve been on it. Last year I ballooned up in weight and the camp I had for Martin Harkin mainly focused on weight loss. I knew I couldn’t do that this time, because I knew something big was around the corner.
“I was getting a little bit frustrated and thinking ‘is anything going to happen?’ and then I got the call from Lee Eaton [MTK Global, promoter] saying: ‘We’re making that fight’. I’m buzzing.
“I know people will be writing me off because Kongo is this star on the big stage knocking people out but I’ve proved people wrong before. This ain’t the first time that people will expect me to lose. I take chances and prove people wrong.
“I promise my city of Portsmouth that win is coming back to Portsmouth. It’s one thing being on that platform, I need to be on that platform – and win. I’m there to spoil the whole show. This is my time.”
Kongo seized his opportunity last time out.
“He [McKinson] was saying that he was far ahead of me, but now I’ve got the belt, the tables have turned,” said Kongo. “It’s not, can I solve ‘The Problem?’ I will solve ‘The Problem’ on March 6, guaranteed.”
PICTURES: MARK ROBINSON/MATCHROOM BOXING
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