When Matty Askin, 17-2 (10KO’s), was told his eagerly anticipated tilt at Ovill McKenzie’s, 23-12 (12KO’s), British and Commonwealth cruiserweight titles was to be rescheduled, he could be forgiven for thinking it was some sort of joke.
Unfortunately for the 26-year old, his friend and trainer Michael Jennings was deadly serious when – three days before fight night – he informed him that the fight was to be rescheduled for the third time with a revised date and venue yet to be confirmed.
Thankfully the bout was saved and will now take place within the iconic York Hall, Bethnal Green on Friday 27th March at the fourth time of asking.
It’s difficult to appreciate or gauge the impact such a change can have on a fighter, who has invested so much of himself into the preparation for one moment that could make or break his career.
In the case of the immediately likable cruiserweight from Blackpool, disappointment has been harnessed and used as motivation.
“Honestly, the delay hasn’t affected me at all, in fact, it has just reassured me even further that Ovill McKenzie is getting destroyed come fight night. I just can’t wait to get down to London now and prove it.
“It’s been 6-7 months in the making this fight and I’m sick and tired of hearing his name. Believe me, when I get in that ring he is getting destroyed. That’s not being disrespectful to Ovill; he’s a very good fighter. I just feel so good and so confident.” He said.
The anticipation can be felt in the voice of a fighter who has been out of the ring since stopping Menay Edwards in 9 rounds to defend his English cruiserweight title almost a year ago.
Askin speaks with clear confidence, rather than arrogance, in the manner of someone comfortable in his own skin, having using his year out of the spotlight to mature not only as a fighter, but also a man.
“People look at my earlier career and question me, but I had, had a very turbulent time outside of boxing and it affected me. Now little things have settled me down.
“I stopped doing things that would use up my energy and have me feeling lethargic, like meeting friends when I should be resting. I’ve recently become a Dad and relax at home with my fiancé and son. I’ve got my diet right and my head firmly on boxing.
“I’ve matured.” Askin confirmed.
It’s often said in boxing that fighters develop their man strength as they move through the twenties. Typically, this is nod towards punching power and physical prowess, rather than the mental assurance a fighter develops as he progresses.
Both are equal in their importance, Askin has the punching power and it would appear a happy gym and home life has provided the stability he needed to mentally mature.
“If Ovill McKenzie beats me then fair play. He will have beaten a perfectly prepared fighter. Unfortunately for him, no matter what he does he can’t beat me.
“I can’t wait to explode on the night.” Askin concluded.