Boxing: John McCallum to appeal McKenzie verdict

City boxer John McCallum, left, is eager to face Leon McKenzie again. Pic: Getty

City boxer John McCallum, left, is eager to face Leon McKenzie again. Pic: Getty

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Super middleweight boxer John McCallum says he is ready to file an appeal to the British Boxing Board of Control over his controversial six-round defeat to former footballer Leon McKenzie.

The Capital fighter suffered the first loss of his professional career at London’s York Hall on Saturday night in Goodwin Promotions’ British super 
middleweight title-eliminator.

Two cuts just below and above McCallum’s right eye brought the contest to a halt after the sixth round, an outcome the Scot is still struggling to come to terms with, having landed the more clinical shots on the night.

But despite McCallum’s superiority, the 27-year-old was reluctantly pulled from his corner with blood streaming from his face – a clash of heads in the opening round appearing to have caused the damage.

The former Leith Victoria amateur has been left distraught by the decision, revealing he was under the impression the result would be determined by the judges’ scorecards.

Former English Premier League footballer McKenzie is now on the brink of a British title, but McCallum told the Evening News: “There are all sorts of stories flying around saying I quit in the corner. 
Leon’s being going around bragging saying he knocked me out, but it’s all lies.

“I won five clear rounds and the other one could have gone either way. I was the clearer puncher throughout. He never troubled me and I outboxed him on the front and back foot. To be honest, I gave him a bit of a boxing lesson.”

“It was a head clash in the first round that gave me the cut around the eye. It should have been easy enough to fix, but my corner never picked up on it and it just got bigger. My eye ended up closing, but I feel I could have continued and hung on and outboxed him behind the jab.

“His legs began to shake a few times. I nearly stopped him a couple of times, so I think even his reaction when the fight was over told a story in itself. He a had to take a moment himself before he started jumping about because he was so surprised to learn he had won.

“I think the referee has robbed me of the British title if I’m being honest and it should have gone to the scorecards. I’m not a sore loser. If he had won the fight, I would have shaken his hand and congratulated him and had to accept it.

“But it’s unfinished business as far as I’m concerned. I’d fight tonight if I had the chance. I’ve said to my manager Steve Goodwin that if he’s not giving me a rematch then I want an appeal to the Board to force a rematch.”

McCallum received a hostile reception from the lion’s share of Saturday’s crowd, having been branded disrespectful by McKenzie over his long-standing battle with depression – the Englishman even attempted suicide whilst playing for Charlton in 2011.

The pair also had to be pulled apart in a pre-fight head-to-head press conference as tempers threatened to boil over. However, McCallum says he has been left angered by the picture his opponent has tried to portray of him in the press.

“I don’t know how he can claim victory and say it was a victory for everybody who suffers from depression,” he said. “I have never slated anyone who does suffer from depression as it’s not something you make fun about. There are all different severities of it, but I was just saying that we don’t all need to go and make a song and dance about it and keep bringing out books. I don’t want to sell myself as that kind of 
person. It’s not me.

“I have asked Steve for a rematch and he doesn’t have a problem with that, but it’s Leon who’s saying he doesn’t want to as he and his family don’t believe in them.

“I’m so glad he has put the fight on YouTube so everyone will be able to see the fight with their own eyes. We never even spoke after as I had to go to hospital to get the cuts stitched, but he’s got this ego about him. He had guys like [former Arsenal striker] Ian Wright and [rapper] Tinie Tempah there backing him. I’m certainly by no means retiring because Leon never beat me as far as I am concerned.”

Asked why he believes the fight was awarded in McKenzie’s favour, taking the cuts to the eye out of the equation, McCallum added: “That’s something they can only answer. I really don’t have a clue. I thought they were going to the scorecards and then they’ve just turned it and somehow said it was a stoppage. I was in shock and never knew what was 
happening.”