By Alexey Sukachev
He was a huge underdog and a natural light heavyweight among British cruisers just three hours ago, and now journeyman Ovill ‘Upsetter’ McKenzie (17-9, 6 KOs) is on the top of the world with the £25.000 paycheck and a shot at the reigning Commonwealth 200lb champion Rob Norton (31-4-1, 19 KOs). To earn these honors McKenzie had to win three three-rounders in just one evening and, by doing so, he became the Prizefighter cruiserweight champion. The tournament, promoted by Barry Hearn from Matchroom Boxing and televised on SKY Sports, ended moments ago at Earl’s Court in London.
In the final McKenzie used his roughhouse tactics and combat skills to get the better of another improbable finalist John Keeton (28-17, 18 KOs). Both fighters have two wins in their last ten fights before the start of the tournament. There were no knockdowns in the final but Ovill was clearly a better man, scoring with numerous blows on inside and wisely clinching when possible. Scores were 29-28 (twice) and 30-27 for McKenzie.
In sensational semifinals, both finalists got the rid of much more experienced participants who were considered favorites in there. After the even first round, McKenzie dropped Belfast Darren Corbett (28-5-1, 16 KOs) with the picture perfect left-right combo and immediately finished him at 2:33 of the second round. Keeton was even more blistering stopping the overwhelming favorite Dean Francis (31-4-1, 25 KOs) in the very first round. Francis was down twice after hard right hands by Keeton. The fight was stopped at 2:35.
In the first quarterfinal, Francis stopped Neil Simpson (26-19-1, 11 KOs) at 0:38 of the third round with Simpson not being down but being wobbled. Keeton barely got over Bruce Scott (27-10, 18 KOs) with the scores 29-28 (twice) and 28-27 after being credited with the questionable knockdown in round one. McKenzie looked monstrous against former world title challenger Terry Dunstan (20-3, 12 KOs) dropping him in round two and cruising towards a clear cut UD 3: 30-27, 30-25 and 29-28. Finally, Corbett was better than Micky Steeds (12-5, 3 KOs), the youngest challenger at 25, with the scores: 30-27 (twice) and 29-26. Steeds was down in the first round.