Leon McKenzie outsmarted many a defender at London Road during a sparkling Posh career . . . and tomorrow (September 9) he believes he’ll do the same to Cello Renda in the boxing ring.
The two meet for the vacant Southern Area super-middleweight title at York Hall, Bethnal Green, and McKenzie expects an explosive encounter.
Peterborough pugilist Renda is a much more expetrienced fighter, who narrowly lost out to four-time former world title challenger Martin Murray in the 2008 edition of Prizefighter, but McKenzie believes he can win.
The Premier League footballer-turned-boxer is convinced his controlled aggression will prove too much for 32-year-old Renda to handle.
“I’m sure it will be explosive, because like me, Cello is also pretty fiery,” said McKenzie.
“I just think I’m going to be a little bit too much and a little bit too polished for him and I think his best days are behind him.
“He’d be a very good name for me to have on my CV for sure and the step up for me is that I’m fighting for the Southern Area title.
“It would be nice to get my hands on an established belt and a meaningful title. It would be another great achievement for me in my life.
“Cello is coming to win but I just think I’m going to be too strong for him. I just feel different going into this fight. I’m in a very confident and spiteful mood.”
Following in the footsteps of his father, best friend and trainer Clinton - a former British and European light-welterweight champion - Leon (8-1-1-KO4) turned professional as a boxer in 2013.
But the 39-year-old, also the nephew of former three-weight world champion Duke McKenzie, believes he is yet to earn the respect he feels he deserves in boxing - and he is determined to remedy that at York Hall on Saturday night.
“It is what it is but I know what I bring and I know what I’m capable of,” McKenzie said.
“Nobody can really say anything to me - I’m 40 next year. A lot of the guys I’ve fought have been doing this all their lives.
“Let’s be honest, I shouldn’t even be sharing a ring with these guys, that’s the reality. I’m 10 fights in my whole life.
“That’s why as a boxer now, nobody can say anything to me and that’s why in this fight I’m determined to show people what I’m really about.”