Preview: Kongo vs McKinson
On March 27th, Dillian Whyte takes on Alexander Povetkin in the rematch for the interim WBC heavyweight championship in Gibraltar. As is always the case when boxing is only available via PPV, it gives a chance for many fighters to be in the spotlight.
As is the case with many pay-per-views, there are a number of fascinating fights on the undercard. One of the most intriguing is a welterweight clash between Michael McKinson and Chris Kongo. Both competitors are ranked by the WBO, 6th, and 13th respectively. McKinson is the more experienced fighter, having had 19 fights in comparison to Kongo’s 12. The fight is for Kongo's WBO ‘Global’ welterweight title and more importantly, a chance to climb the world rankings.
Both fighters will enter the ring trying to protect their undefeated records and are two of the hottest domestic welterweight talents. Kongo has the larger following, due to his close relationship with Dillian Whyte, and the exposure he has gained through Matchroom. A win for the Bermondsey fighter would help him climb the WBO rankings and he may only be a couple of fights away from a mandatory position. This is unquestionably Kongo’s toughest fight to date, having previously overcome Luther Clay in his most recent bout at Matchroom’s Fight Camp. In that victory, he managed to quiet some of the naysayers, showing that he deserves the attention he garners.
Kongo told DAZN: “I'm very excited, this is a fight that I’ve wanted for a long time. He was saying that he was far ahead of me, but now I’ve got the belt, the tables have turned. Michael has said he’s the most avoided, but I know I’m the most avoided, so we have to make it happen. The two most dangerous fighters in the division – we’re both getting it on now – so it’s a big fight.”
McKinson is the current WBO European champion and might be the most underrated domestic welterweight. Being in such a talented division with a plethora of stars, it has been challenging for him to get the attention his ability deserves. This is partly due to his lack of stoppages, having only knocked out 11% of his opponents. On fight night, he will be hoping to out skill a less experienced fighter and take him further than anyone else has been able to. A win gives him a slice of Kongo’s platform and the chance to use that audience to get his own name more widely-recognised. McKinson last fought in October of 2020, with a unanimous victory over, the then undefeated, Martin Harkin.
McKinson told DAZN: "It's a fight I have called for and I'm over the moon to get a fight that I want. I've wanted a big fight for a long time. I deserve one and I'm buzzing. It's a massive platform and one that I need in my career. I believe I was born to be on the big stage, and I can't wait to show that on March 6. Chris Kongo is a dangerous fighter and a talented fighter, but there is no fighter like Michael McKinson. You can throw me in with anybody and I'd come out victorious.”
Credit must go to Chris Kongo for taking such a dangerous fight, in just his 12th pro bout. According to the bookies he is the clear favourite however, the fight will not be a one-sided affair. Whilst this is the greatest opportunity of McKinson’s career to date and this platform gives him the chance to catapult his career. Having a lot to gain might make him an even more dangerous fighter, using the added motivation that it brings. It will be interesting to see whether the experience of McKinson will give him the edge, having already fought in tough European matchups. McKinson has fought 119 pro rounds, whereas Kongo has only been in 43. Although the loser’s career will not be by any means over, the winner has a chance to solidify themselves amongst the elite of the domestic division.
Date: 26th March 2021
Venue: Europa Sports Sport Complex
Event Start Time: 7pm
Channel: Sky Sports Box Office (UK), DAZN (Global)