McKenzie puts on fantastic display to draw in Buenos Aires
Ovill McKenzie put in the performance of his life to secure a draw with Victor Ramirez in Buenos Aires as he challenged for the IBF World Cruiserweight Championship. Nicknamed The Upsetter, the charismatic Jamaican-born fighter took the fight at 11 days' notice and put in a highly impressive display in hostile territory to take a hard-earned draw.
McKenzie started the brighter of the two, popping out a high number of jabs and capitalising on his superior reach to good effect. He landed his first major overhand right late in the second round, which was absorbed well by the hometown champion.
Ramirez stepped up his intent in the third round, closing the range and connecting with a few decent right hands. The Upsetter was able to use his footwork to evade any major problems, however. The Argnentine continued his assault in the fourth, bulldozing his way forward and tagging McKenzie with a few sizable right hands.
The Jamaican-born fighter continued his relentless jabbing display in round five, but found that more adventurous combinations weren't able to find their target.
There were fireworks in the sixth as Ramirez landed a pair of jabs and a big straight right, leaving Ovill holding on. In typical style, McKenzie fired back with a meaty right hook and thunderous straight right of his own in a pendulous sixth stanza.
In the seventh, Ovill returned to his jab and move gameplan, looking to use his height and reach advantages to good effect.
The defending champion bounded out of his corner and set a far higher tempo in the eighth as McKenzie started to show his first signs of tiredness.
Ramirez stepped up his intent again in the ninth, raining in with accurate uppercuts before McKenzie replied with a big right hand which stiffened the legs of the champion.
Quick hands from McKenzie to open the tenth round, as he rained in with combos. Ramirez carried on his bulldozing charges forward as McKenzie landed with a good right hook at the end of the round.
McKenzie threw some huge punches at the start of the eleventh, knowing he probably needed a stoppage fighting on Argentine soil against a home favourite. Ramirez landed more frequently than a tiring McKenzie, however.
The popular Derby-based fighter threw the kitchen sink in the final round, fearing a hometown decision in favour of Ramirez, but was only able to land on a few occasions.
And so it went to the scorecards, where the judges returned a draw after McKenzie's brave display.
McKenzie gets dream IBF world title shot in Argentina, faces Ramirez
Ovill's Army marches to Buenos Aires, Argentina for this golden World Title opportunity against Argentine assassin Victor Emilio Ramirez.
Derby's Jamaican favourite son will be up against it travelling to Ramirez's back yard at short notice but has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Now training out of the renowned Peacock Gym in London, 'The Upsetter' has looked rejuvenated putting together four wins on the spin since losing the rematch to Enzo Maccarinelli back in August 2013.
Tony Conquest, Jon-Lewis Dickinson, Matty Askin and most recently Janne Forsman have all been dispatched in Ovill's quest for World honours.
BoxNation favourite McKenzie expressed his delight through Twitter "This is the opportunity I will not waste! #DreamComeTrue"
The British and Commonwealth Champion will be looking to add the crown jewel to his expanding belt collection come fight night next Friday.
After defeating fellow Brit Ola Afolabi for the IBF interim World Title back in April on points, 31 year old Ramirez was recently upgraded to the governing bodies full World Champion after long standing Yoan Pablo Hernandez was stripped of his belt.
Ramirez has only two defeats, one to Marco Huck and boasts an impressive 17 knock out's from his 22 victories.
Watch the IBF World Cruiserweight Title Fight LIVE on BoxNation at 2am on Friday night, 2 October.