DERBY-BASED boxer Ovill McKenzie begins his second reign as Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion against Liverpool’s rejuvenated domestic veteran Tony Dodson on Friday (February 3) at Manchester's Bowlers Exhibition Centre.
Fresh from a 15 second stoppage over Jeff Evans in November to capture the Commonwealth title, McKenzie hopes this time he has more success facing a Scouser following a points loss to Tony Bellew in 2011.
Suitably nicknamed ‘The Upsetter’, he’s often voiced his opinion that he’s avoided due to his reputation as a dangerous and pure power puncher with all of his right stoppage wins having come in the first three rounds.
Now as champion there are a number of fighters eager to face McKenzie and Dodson is as tough as any challenger. Aiming to start a new chapter of his career with title success, Dodson has moved to light-heavyweight from super-middleweight where he enjoyed Central Area, English and British title reigns.
Under the guidance of Salford based trainer Oliver Harrison, 31-year-old Dodson boasts a wealth of experience having shared the ring with the likes of Carl Froch and Paul Smith in the past.
Both McKenzie and Dodson come from contrasting backgrounds with Dodson enjoying a brilliant amateur career with seven national title wins and a junior Olympic gold medal before he turned pro when still a boy at aged just 18.
The professional ranks have provided Dodson with many ups and downs but he’s since settled in and out of the ring which has seen his performances improve at light-heavyweight with quality performances in Prizefighter and when stopping Darren Stubbs last year.
The chiseled, Jamaica-born McKenzie is part of the successful Shinfield’s gym in the Midlands. His success in the ring has often comes when he has rushed and overwhelms his opponents, causing them to leave make mistakes and gaps that he can punish with his punching power.
Having sometimes thrown caution to the wind in the past, Dodson will have to call on his boxing skills to keep McKenzie at bay early on - it should be noted that Dodson has a superior knockout ratio, albeit at a lighter weight.
The undercard includes the talents of Ronnie Heffron, Warren Tansey, Terry Flannigan, Mark Evans, Courtney Fry, Jamie Brown, Rick Goddins, and Chris Johnson.