Unbeaten welterweight talent Jack McKinlay (2-0, 0KOs), trained by Paul Stevenson at the thriving Everton Red Triangle Gym, spoke exclusively with BBN’s Editor Tim Rickson about recovering from his recent injury, training without a fight date in the diary, and what fights he’s most looking forward to watching this year.
Here's what the Anfield man had to say:
Thanks for joining us Jack, how’s the hand injury now?
“Yeh, it feels alright now, I’m back punching again, but it lasted about four or five months. I just put a wrist support on my hand for a month then done some strengthening exercises.”
Are you back in training now, and what differences are there from before lockdown?
“I’ve stayed in the gym; the first lockdown only had a couple of lads in, fighting on that [Frank Warren] bill and just stayed in. I’m training three days a week in the gym and running on other days.
The differences have been that you can work on other technical things. I’ve been doing a lot of strength work, only a little bit of sparring, and working on technical side of things as well. I’m feeling really strong at the moment.”
How do you stay motivated when there’s so little prospect at fighting anytime soon?
“I’ve never found it hard to get motivated, I just enjoy training. I wouldn’t mind getting a fight soon though, it’s frustrating and doing my head in now!”
You have had one fight this year, but were scheduled in to have five – how disappointing is that for you?
“It is disappointing, but it might have happened anyway because of my hand injury, so might only have got one in anyway. Just got to hold on and stay fit, stay in shape, can’t fall off the wagon because of it all.”
Assuming this year is a write-off for your boxing career, what plans have you made for next year, if any?
“I cant plan for next year, the government are just changing things by the minute, so I don’t think no one knows what’s happening or how long is going to last, so I find it hard to make plans at the minute.”
How does your trainer Paul Stevenson keep you and the rest of you team motivated and focused during these uncertain times?
“Yeah, to be honest, sometimes getting up in the morning you might feel like you cant be arsed, but you get in the gym with Paul and it all changes.
We sit down in the gym and watch boxing fights, so your mind is always on it, there’s always boxing in the back of your mind. It helps to keep you focused.”
What boxing fights have you most enjoyed watching behind closed doors?
“I’ve only been watching a couple of them, I watched the Lomachenko-Lopez fight. I like watching the older fights, Paul [Stevenson] gets us watching fights in the gym, but there’s like not one single fighter that we watch; if Paul wants us to work on something then he’ll get us to watch a fighter who does that particular thing well, like whatever he wants us to do, he’ll use a fighter as an example and we’ll work on it that day. So, we worked on cutting the ring off and watched George Foreman doing it.”
What fight are you most looking forward to this year?
“Yeah, Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz; obviously the Usyk vs Chisora fight as well. I think Usyk will win by late stoppage, but I think Chisora might give him hell for the first few rounds and then gas and then get taken out. Unless Usyk gets caught with a silly one, which could always happen. It’s a good clash of styles – Boxer vs Brawler.”
One of your stablemates is actually fighting on that Usyk-Chisora Box Office bill – how do you rate her chances against Amy Timlin for the Commonwealth super-bantamweight title?
“She used to come down and spar regularly at our gym, so I hope she wins. She’s a good girl, very polite, and is always training hard in the gym. I don’t really know the other girl much so can’t really call it, but I hope Carly wins.”
Obviously, your career has stalled momentarily, so there’s not a great deal going on, but is there anything you want to add to finish with?
“It doesn’t sound very interesting at the moment does it, but what can you do?
It’s a bit frustrating that there’s all this talent in the gym going to waste, well not going to waste, but we’re seeing other fighters getting opportunities on TV and it should be us in there, but just got to be patient, and wait our turn.”
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