Ovill Mckenzie. The man who lost three of his first five fights. The man that after eleven fights had less than a fifty percent win rate. The man who has lost twelve times and has been stopped twice.
This same man is now Prizefighter champion. This man is the British and Commonwealth cruiserweight champion. This man is closing in on a world title shot.
The opening two paragraphs are stories that should not be matched together. One shows the story of a so called journey man that was losing regularly to fighters that were inexperienced like himself. The other paragraph portrays the story of a man who has moved to Britain from Jamaica and is gradually proving himself as a champion. He is moving up the rankings towards a world title shot fighting anybody in the process as well as fighting many top talents in their own backyards.
Mckenzie has shared the ring with world class fighters such as Tony Bellew, and Denis Inkin, as well as beating former world champion Enzo Maccarinelli. He also has wins over Matty Askin, Jon-Lewis Dickinson and Tony Dodson
InstantBoxing.com’s Luke Madeira spoke to Ovill to assess his boxing career so far, and here is what he had to say.
We will start from the beginning, what made you first get into boxing?
In Kingston in Jamaica, I’ve got two mates and every Friday and Saturday night we used to do some sparring. We used to box on the street and people used to gather round and watch me. I knocked one guy out really badly, and so people used to watch me all the time.
What are your first memories of watching boxing? What was the first fight you went to?
The first fights that I went to were just amateur fights near the gym that I went to. It was exciting because I was training for it myself and I never really went to many fights before that. When I started myself I went to watch more fights.
Who is your favourite fighter past and present?
At the time when I was younger my favourite fighter was Mike Tyson.
What do you like about training as a professional and what do you hate about training?
I enjoy training, but I hate feeling the pain from the hard work!
The prizefighter tournament was a kind of breakout for you, how did you find the whole experience of the tournament?
It was quite a good experience to tell you the truth because I only got two weeks notice for it and I wasn’t even on the poster it was that close to the fights. I think somebody got injured and they called me about it. I didn’t think I would win it, I thought I could maybe win the first one and maybe lose the second one and get £8,000 in my pocket. I would have been happy with that. When I got matched up with Terry Dunstan, the biggest guy, and I knocked him down I knew I could win it. It was hard but a good experience, and it was my best experience. It was an exciting night.
Whose the best fighter you’ve shared the ring with?
I don’t know! I’ve sparred with loads of different guys, fighting wise the best guy was probably Enzo Maccarinelli. To tell you the truth the second fight with Maccarinelli was a good fight and a tough fight. That was my best fight ever, and after that fight I knew I was a true champion. When I see that fight, it reminds me of the fighters back in the day. The Ali’s and the George Foreman’s.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Being three time champion. At the minute I’m a three time champion. I’m the Commonwealth, British and European champion at the moment, and that’s the biggest achievement so far. I’ve come off the streets and now I’m a champion, whatever happens from now I have achieved something good. I’m looking forward to plenty more, we need that world title!
Now that you’ve won a number of title, are you focused on winning the Lonsdale belt outright or push on in levels?
I would love to win a world title. If a world title opportunity comes up then I’m going for it. The most important thing to me is to achieve a world title for Britain.
Where did you get the nickname ‘The Upsetter’?
I think in Britain, the nickname ‘The Upsetter’ came from me going to people’s home towns and beating them. I’m always the underdog and the man that should be beaten but I stop a lot of unbeaten fighters. It’s from beating good fighters and beating them in their backyard. I’m a one man show as well, I always leave in style!
You previously mentioned fighting Marco Huck for the world title. Now he has lost do you want any of the other champions? Or is new WBO champ Glowacki your main focus now?
I just want a world title shot. I will fight any one of them. Anyone of them is a step forward. If I’m getting a world title shot I want to fight the best. I’m ready for them all. I would say no to anyone either.
Do you see yourself ever fighting in America?
Anywhere, that’s where I want to go! I’m the Upsetter and I’ll go anywhere! I don’t want the fight to be in Britain, if I’m going to fight for a world title I want to go to somebody’s back yard and show them that I can live up to my name.
Do you think you’re the best cruiserweight in Britain right now?
I don’t think, I know I’m the best cruiserweight in Britain. Even in the world, I know that I’m the champ and I will prove it. I’m the best cruiserweight. 100%
What do you feel you have gained now you have moved up to cruiserweight that you lacked at light heavyweight?
I’m just a bit stronger and I don’t have to lose any weight. I can just do what I want and have to lose weight before the weigh in. I can just build myself up every day. I’m going to be strong and sharp. I don’t diet, I can eat what I want to eat. I can even eat breakfast before I go to the weigh in!
Finally, what does the future hold for you?
I’m a future world champion, that’s what the future holds for me
By Luke Madeira, follow Luke on twitter @lukemadeira15