Ex Pro footballer Leon Mackenzie talks about his new goals as a pro boxer

 

PZ:      Since we last spoke in January a lot has happened. Let’s start with your last two fight. Where you happy with them?

LM:      Last time we spoke you asked me what the biggest buzz in football was, and I said scoring a goal in front of a packed stadium and that I wanted to experience knocking out an opponent, because I hadn’t at that point.

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Although I stopped Nikola Varbanov with a body shot I didn’t get the buzz from the stoppage because I just felt he didn’t want to get up from it. I was looking for an explosive KO, but it just didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with the win and the power– it was satisfying, but it’s not there yet in terms of comparing it to the buzz of scoring a goal.

 

I was actually happier with my points win against Danny Brown as he’d fought 19 times and getting the six rounds of experience gave me even more satisfaction against a durable opponent. Although I won by three points, I came away a tiny bit deflated as I had my nose broken and I damaged a ligament on my knuckle which blew up the size of a golf ball. But that’s boxing!

 

Now I’m easing my way back into training and have no intention of taking on a fight until I’m 100% fit. I seem to be putting most of my opponents down in my fights, although I’m not necessarily taking them out, so I know the power is there. The technique is improving all the time…

 

PZ:      I believe you’ve changed promotional companies. Tell me why and also how it’s working out for you…

 

LM:      It’s working out really well. I’d always fought on Steve Goodwin’s shows and he’s always looked after me really well. So when it came to the point of choosing a promoter, Goodwin promotions seemed like the natural choice to move to. They know I can sell tickets and I know I can trust them, so it was a no brainer from both sides.

 

Steve also has good ties with Matchroom, which is encouraging and potentially very exciting for my future.

 

Kevin Campion is also on the team. Kevin is a man a respect a hell of a lot. He’s always had a lot of time for me and is a great motivator. He’s excellent for the sport of boxing and I’m delighted to be working with him and the Goodwin family.

 

PZ:      Is your dad (Clinton) still training you?

 

LM:      Yup. He’s still putting me through the paces! Uncle Duke has taken more of a back seat, so it’s really just me and dad now. The father/son relationship works well and he brings out the very best every time we are in the gym together.

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PZ:      Where would you like to be in 12 months time with your boxing?

 

LM:      If I win a masters title in March I will be mandatory for the Southern Area. That’s where I’d like to be.

 

PZ:      Do you consider yourself old in the boxing game?

 

LM:      I’m going to be 37 in May, and not getting any younger! However, I do look after myself and am enjoying my journey at present in boxing. It’s a real buzz when people send me messages saying, ‘You’re a really good fighter,’ or ‘congratulations on the last win’, because that shows they are respecting me as a boxer, not just a footballer who was the son of a boxer. I’m earning my own name in the game now and the fact that I’m unbeaten in five fights obviously means something is working.

 

PZ:      Talking of boxers who are ageing nicely, who are you going for – 49 year old Hopkins or 31 year old Kovalev?

 

LM:      I think he might of taken on more than he can handle, but you can never write him off! He’s a spoiler and you never know that he might have the style to frustrate and mess up Kovalev’s routine. I have massive admiration for Hopkins in terms of his age and what he’s achieved and continues to achieve, and as someone who’s 13 years older than me, he’s an inspiration to watch.

 

PZ:      When are you hoping to fight next?

 

LM:      December is when I’d like to be fighting again for another six rounder – as long as I’m fit and the niggles have gone. If that goes well, then hopefully in March 2015, I’ll be fighting for something like a Silver Masters for a ten round title fight.

 

Photo credits – Bernard Miller

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