March is sure to be a special month for the Shinkwin family.
To have two family members competing in the biggest fights of their careers is one thing but when you add in the fact the pair are both competing at Wembley Arena and in the space of two weeks, that is exceptional.
Boxers Liam and Miles Shinkwin are approaching a huge month in their respective professional careers as the Bushey residents are both appearing on the undercard of two shows involving some of the biggest names in British boxing.
Liam, 27, is taking on fellow unbeaten fighter Ryan Taylor on March 9, when Darren Barker faces Simone Rotolo for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental Middleweight Championship as part of the ‘London’s Finest’ show, which will be broadcast on Sky Sports.
Then seven days later, cousin Miles will also be fighting at Wembley Arena as part of the exciting ‘Rule Britannia’ show, which will include world title fights for Ricky Burns and Nathan Cleverly plus George Groves and Dereck Chisora should also be in action. The event will be televised on Box Nation.
"It is a massive few weeks for the family," Liam told the Watford Observer. "Who would have thought we would both be fighting at Wembley in the space of two weeks?
"It is great for the family and hopefully I can do the business and so can Miles a week later."
There is a downside to the Shinkwins both fighting so close together though. Away from the glamour and multi-million pound deals at the top end of boxing, a fighter’s ability to sell tickets can be important as he tries to work his way up the ranks.
Like most other sports, boxing is not always cheap and the fact Liam and Miles share the same family, and in many cases, friends, means it will be difficult for some of their supporters to attend both shows at Wembley Arena.
Miles explained: "It is nice that our fights have come along at the same time but it doesn’t help with ticket sales because we have the same family and friends and the cheapest tickets are £40. So when you add in transport and everything else, we both understand that we can’t expect everyone to come to both of our fights, which is a shame."
Liam (pictured left) is currently unbeaten as a professional with a record of five wins and one draw. On March 9, ‘somebody’s 0 will have to go’ when he takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Taylor for the vacant Southern Area lightweight title.
This will be the first time Liam, who took a two-year break from professional boxing between 2009 and 2011, has faced another unbeaten fighter.
"This is definitely the biggest fight of my career," he stated.
"This is a big opportunity for me. Me and my trainer Gary Logan met up with promoter Eddie Hearn a while ago and he suggested he might be able to get the title fight.
"It is a bit of a risk because I have a new trainer and it is my first fight with him; so to go straight in the deep end and try to win the title will be a big ask but I know I can beat Ryan."
Liam spent time last summer in the world-famous Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles, which is owned by renowned trainer Freddie Roach.
One of the people Shinkwin shared time in the ring with was Manny Pacquiao’s lead sparring partner Ray Beltran, who is ranked in the world’s top ten at lightweight.
Former Bushey Meads pupil Liam changed trainers last September, opting for former British and Commonwealth title challenger Logan.
However, a back injury meant the pair didn’t start working with each other fully until late November.
Logan gave Liam the option to take an easier fight to start with but the 27-year-old wanted the title shot against Taylor.
"Ryan will definitely be my toughest fight yet as I have not fought anyone undefeated before," Liam said.
"He is a big puncher who is dangerous. He likes to come forward and he is very powerful. I will admit he has put me down in sparring before but I don’t mind that and hopefully I will beat him on the night."
Liam, who is sponsored by Lantern Recovery, described it as a 50-50 fight. He accepts Taylor may be classed as favourite as he has been more active than Shinkwin, who last fought in April.
But his opponent does not have the same international amateur pedigree as the Hertfordshire man.
The former Bushey Boxing Club member "hopes this fight will open a few doors", particularly as Eddie Hearn, who works closely with Sky Sports, is one of the biggest boxing promoters not only in the UK but arguably the world.
He said: "The fact we are both unbeaten, and with the fight being at Wembley, it adds spice to the occasion. It is a great stage to impress."
Liam’s Southern Area lightweight title shot comes 20 years after his uncle Shaun fought for the same belt and he added "it would be good to win this one for all the family".
If you want to buy tickets for the March 9 show, you can contact Liam on 07985 707504.
Seven days later, cousin Miles also faces the biggest test of his young career against an as yet undecided opponent.
The 24-year-old light-heavyweight, who as a youngster was also trained by his dad Danny Shinkwin at Bushey Boxing Club, says it "seems to have taken forever" for the fight to come around and "wants it to take place tomorrow".
The March 16 show is a Frank Warren production and with it including some of the biggest names in British boxing, Miles has taken pride in being selected for the undercard.
He said: "The first thing I thought about when I found out was that it is great to even be thought about when it comes to that show. There are only about five fights on the undercard and Frank Warren has about 100 fighters so it is great recognition for how I am getting on.
"I will be one of the first fights on so there won’t be a huge crowd there but either way it is a big night.
"If I get mentioned with those names [Burns, Cleverly, Groves and Chisora] in the next few years then I will be doing alright, won’t I."
Miles will have a decent following at Wembley though, as fellow Bushey BC graduate Mitchell Smith, who lives in Harrow Weald, is also on the undercard and they had sold around 600 tickets between them when he spoke to the Watford Observer last week.
Miles, who still lives in Bushey and trains in Essex with Jason Rowland, who was also Liam’s trainer before he switched, said: "I hope this will be my toughest fight so far; I don’t want to be taking backwards steps. You can turn pro at 18 and you can have ten fights where you learn your trade but I’m now 24. I want to be fighting someone better and harder every time I fight."
Miles, who has won both fights since turning pro, didn’t mix his words when he was asked what he hoped to achieve from what is certain to be the biggest night of his professional career so far.
"In every interview I have ever done, they have asked me what do I want to achieve. And I always say the same thing: in any sport, you have to aim for the top and the biggest prize otherwise there is no point in doing it," he said.
"So I want to be a world champion, without a doubt. I think I have the ability to do it. If I said to you that I would settle for a British title then there is no point in doing it because you will fall short."
Miles’ opponent had not been announced when the Watford Observer went to press but former Irish champion John Waldron is one of the names which has been mentioned.
The former Queens School pupil, is sponsored by The Shire golf course, B&L Builders plus RCD and SRD Recruitment.