Not generally noted for his punching power, Portsmouth welter Michael McKinson scored three official knockdowns en route to a dominant points win over previously unbeaten Scot Martin Harkin (13-1, 5 KOs) at the Production Park Studios in Kirkby on Sunday night.
Scores were 100-88, 99-88 and 97-91 after McKinson was credited with knockdowns in the first, second and fifth rounds. Slick southpaw McKinson (19-0, 2 KOs) is currently rated No.8 by the WBO.
“I feel great to get the win. I’ve been out nearly a year and I was a bit rusty in there. I could have jumped in more when I made him miss, but he’s a dangerous guy,” said McKinson.
“He was an unbeaten fighter, but that’s what I do for a living, I take the 0’s on their records for fun. Granted he isn’t the likes of Chris Kongo and Josh Kelly. I believe I can compete with those guys and that’s who I want next.
“I’ve been in the top 10 for three or four years now, I’m beating these guys with ease, one of those judges scored that 100-88. That’s a landside. Harkin might not be a big name but he’s more dangerous than half of those guys.
“I believe I’m the best welterweight in the UK, and I deserve to box one of those big names. These fighters can’t ignore me forever. I’m the realest of them all and I really want the big names.”
World-rated flyweight Jay Harris (18-1, 9 KOs) was given a stiff test by former British super-flyweight title challenger Marcel Braithwaite (9-3, 0 KOs) before prevailing on the cards. Scores were 98-93, 97-93 and 98-92.
Braithwaite rocked Harris with a huge left hook in the fourth, but the Welshman rode out the storm to come out on top in a spirited affair. Scouser Braithwaite emerged with credit in a competitive contest.
Harris’ stock rose considerably after a commendable WBC 112bs title challenge against dangerous Mexican champion Julio Cesar Martinez in February.
“It’s good to have a fight like that. I don’t think I boxed 100%. I was a bit sluggish and got caught with a lot. I got punished at times, and credit to Marcel. He was as game as they come and gave me a good fight,” said Harris.
“In round four, it was a good shot he caught me with and I felt it. It buzzed me but I managed to recover and see the round out. It was my first fight back after eight months and it was a whole new experience for me.
“Credit to Marcel. He did a very good job, but I know that I have to perform better than that if I want to mix it at world level.”
Former IBF bantamweight champion Paul Butler (32-2, 15 KOs) returned after a 10-month lay-off to pound out a clear, eight-round decision over Londoner Ryan Walker (11-3, 2 KOs). Referee John Latham scored the bout 79-73. The Liverpool man is homing in on an IBF 122lbs world title shot in 2021.
“It was nice to be out there against a tough opponent in Ryan. I caught him a few times to the body,” said Butler. “We were working a lot on the right hand side as he seemed to tuck up that way, then we tried going round to his left hand side and it worked and opened up a few gaps for me.
“I’ve had eight good rounds there and we’ll see what happens now. I’m No.3 in the IBF rankings, and I made championship weight so that could push me up to the No.2 spot which is vacant.
“I want the big fights. I might be 31 now but I still feel 24 or 25. I’m setting records in the gym and I’m looking forward to the future.”
The pro journey of Belfast light-heavyweight Paul McCullagh (1-0, 1 KOs) got off to a winning start with a third-round stoppage of Bolton’s Ben Thomas (2-4-3, 1 KOs). McCullagh scored two knockdowns in the third, finishing matters with a body shot.
Main image and all photos: MTK Global.