In the boxing backwater of Gloucestershire, Ovill McKenzie and Dean Francis clash this weekend for McKenzie’s Commonwealth title and the bout represents a major achievement for both fighters. Francis, for whom much was once expected, contesting a significant title following the injuries to his right arm that twice convinced him to retire only to return is prize enough. The fiercely competitive 33 year old will want, and expect to go one further and win of course despite relying almost exclusively on the left hand for much of the eight years since the dislocation against Undra White.
To prevail he must overcome another boxing Lazarus, Ovill McKenzie, a fighter who turned around a 5-6 record to move from rugged journeyman to Commonwealth champion in two years. McKenzie will certainly fight ‘tooth and nail’ to hold on to his prize possessions.
Francis has the pedigree, McKenzie the momentum and perhaps crucially two good hands. But I still think Francis can do enough in a distance fight. Good luck to both though, great stories, terrific determination and a good honest fight.