Bermondsey prospect Chris Kongo gets a big chance to impress at Greenwich’s 02 Arena next month

By Richard Cawley

Chris Kongo has been added to the undercard of Dillian Whyte’s huge heavyweight showdown with Lucas Browne on March 24.

The unbeaten Bermondsey welterweight is 7-0 in the paid ranks – with five inside-the-distance victories.

And Kongo, 25, knows that a strong performance on the Matchroom Sports bill will strengthen his claims to be snapped up by a major promoter.

Pic by Ernest Simmons / Whole 9 Mgmt

The South Londoner – a big Millwall fan – claims his team have been frustrated in trying to make a domestic scrap with Southern Area champion, undefeated Louis Greene.

“I’ve offered to fight Greene three times and he has declined it three times,” said Kongo. “I just think his coach has seen me fight and isn’t interested.

“People have this thing that they want to protect their ‘0’ and keep their fighter unbeaten. But some of the best fighters have lost. And if you are looking to build up your fighter you need to fight prospects. I’m a prospect, he’s a prospect – so what is all that declining about.

“After this fight I want to go for titles, maybe trying to get an international belt or something like the Commonwealth – just to push me forward.”

Kongo has been sparring WBC super-lightweight silver champion Josh Taylor.

There is a suggestion that wearing heavier gloves and headguards does not always give a fair reflection when under the ring lights for real.

“There is more protection on the hands when you have bigger gloves on but sometimes it doesn’t really matter,” said Kongo. “I know people like Richard Riakporhe [an unbeaten cruiserweight from

Walworth] can punch – whatever gloves he has on.

“I had my hands up in sparring and I could feel his punches and he had 18-ounce ones on. If a person can punch, they can punch.

“My coach saw me sparring with Josh and said I am way past Southern Area level and that I don’t need to go down that route now. Josh has called me back for more work. That shows what I have done before is good. It is good for both of us.”

At one stage Kongo was aiming to be on the same show as Brixton cruiserweight Isaac Chamberlain, a good friend, who lost widely on points to Lawrence Okolie at Greenwich’s 02 Arena.

It will be the same venue but a more high-profile show as Whyte, also from Brixton, looks to boost his world title hopes.

“The situation is they [Matchroom] are just putting me on for now and we’ll see what comes from there, what doors open for me.

“I’ve boxed on ITV Box Office but Sky Sports is a bigger platform on TV. People have heard of me but not seen me fight. It’s a chance to showcase my skills.

“The size of the venue doesn’t bother me, you can put me in

anywhere and I’m going to perform regardless. I’ve been boxing in big venues since the age of 14. I went over to Holland to represent London as an amateur and those venues were big. So it’s not really a thing for me.

“My opponent is still to be confirmed but we’re trying to get someone who is good, that is in the top-20 in the rankings. I don’t care who I box just as long as I box.”

Pic by Ernest Simmons / Whole 9 Mgmt

Kongo is backing fellow South Londoner Whyte to beat Australian puncher Browne in the main event.

“I feel Dillian has got a better skillset than Browne. I reckon he will work off his jab for the first couple of rounds, wear him down. It’s what he did against Ian Lewison. I’d expect him to get a late stoppage win.”

Kongo was left puzzled by Chamberlain’s display against Okolie.

“I know how hard Isaac had worked in the build-up in terms of going out to Ukraine for sparring but he just wasn’t in the fight.

“I was with Isaac when he boxed Wadi Camacho and he only had minimal  time training – it wasn’t great. I was very nervous going into that fight [which Chamberlain won].

“I was more confident for this one knowing that Isaac had done a good six-to-eight-week camp. I thought he’d get in there and do it.

“I don’t know what was in his mind. Only a fighter knows what he is feeling at the time.”

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