BOXING: Big fight in the new year for former Posh star

Leon McKenzie has a big fight coming up.
Leon McKenzie has a big fight coming up.
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Ex-Posh striker Leon Mckenzie has the biggest fight of his boxing career coming up.

The 37 year-old southpaw meets Kelvin Young in an eliminator for the English super-middleweight title at the O2 Arena on Saturday, January 30.

The show will be screened live on Sky Sports.

Young, a stable mate of Tariq Quaddus, the Peterborough super-middleweight currently taking a break from the ring, is a former Southern Area champion and McKenzie describes the fight as “a step up.”

He said: “Kelvin is a decent boxer and has had more fights than me. But I don’t think he has enough to beat me.

“It takes someone a bit special to get in the ring when they’re 35 years old - and I’m winning fights at a good level. You can’t really knock an unbeaten record.

“People underestimate me, but boxing is in my DNA.”

Father Clinton McKenzie is a former British and European champion who boxed Sugar Ray Leonard in the 1976 Olympics and uncle Duke is the only British fighter since Bob Fitzsimmons more than a century ago to win world titles at three different weights.

Leon took up boxing late.

He made his professional debut at the age of 35 following a football career that included netting 58 goals in 118 appearances for Posh.

McKenzie says he has “fantastic memories” of his time at London Road.

He said: “Peterborough was where I really found myself as a footballer. I started scoring regular goals at Peterborough and that gave me a lot of belief for the rest of my career.”

At Posh, McKenzie was briefly team-mates with Curtis Woodhouse, another footballer-turned-fighter.

Woodhouse, who started his boxing career under Gary De Roux in the city, went on to win the British light-welterweight title - and there could be big fights ahead for McKenzie if he beats Young over 10 rounds next month.

The fight is an eliminator for the English title - currently held by Leicester’s Jahmaine Smyle - and McKenzie has already won a British-title eliminator, beating John McCallum in six rounds in October.

He said: “I’ve been offered a big fight if I beat Kelvin Young.

“I have two or three options if I beat him.

“There’s the English title and another couple of fights have also been mentioned.

“But I’m not looking past Kelvin. At this level, they are all good fighters and you can’t look beyond anyone.”

Also on the show at the O2 next month, Tommy Martin, another who was on the books at London Road for a spell, challenges John Wayne Hibbert for his Commonwealth light-welterweight championship.

Martin, so impressive when soundly outboxing Ricky Boylan and Michael Devine to win the English and WBA Continental belts this year, is good friends with Hibbert.

But beating the 31 year-old from Essex would propel Martin into the world rankings.

Hibbert is currently ranked No 16 by the WBC.

Tickets for the show at the O2 are available from 07809-246986.