Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Liam Shinkwin and Gary Logan reflect on the Bushey fighter's Southern Area Lightweight title win against Ryan Taylor
His first professional title belt has not left his side all week but it still hasn't sunk in yet; Liam Shinkwin is Southern Area Lightweight champion.
"I’m over the moon. Words can’t describe how much it means to me; it still hasn’t really sunk in yet," Shinkwin said earlier this week.
"My mum keeps laughing at me because no matter where I go, the belt comes with me. But it still doesn’t seem real yet.
"I won titles in the amateurs but this is a different ball game and what makes it that much sweeter is I know a lot of people doubted me."
Saturday was the biggest night of Shinkwin's career as he took on Ryan Taylor at Wembley Arena as part of Matchroom Boxing's 'London Finest' show, which was headlined by Darren Barker and included George Groves.
The 27-year-old admits he was knocked down by Taylor in sparring four years ago and it was a tough fight to take considering the Bushey fighter had not boxed in more than ten months and it was his first bout with new trainer Gary Logan.
Shinkwin was rocked in the first round by the heavy-handed Taylor but the former Bushey Mead pupil and Logan have been working on improving his head and foot movement, plus his shot selection, and Taylor found it hard to connect with clean punches.
'Crash Bang' Taylor landed several big shots but the Bushey fighter proved he has a chin and his superior boxing skills paid dividends as the ten-round fight ended with referee John Keane raising his hand, with the scorecard reading 97-94.
The bout was one of many fights on Eddie Hearn's show at the weekend, which included talents such as Barker, Groves, John Ryder and many more.
But it was Shinkwin v Taylor which was considered the most entertaining fight of the night by many inside Wembley Arena.
Shinkwin said: "I had a few people I didn't know come up to me and say how well I’d boxed, what a good fight it was and how I’d won a few more fans that night, which is always good."
Shinkwin described it as a 50-50 fight heading into the contest but Taylor is considered a good prospect by Matchroom and was favourite with many.
Both Shinkwin and Logan are open to a rematch later this year, with the trainer claiming his fighter would knock out Taylor if the pair met again as the Bushey man was unable to work on several punches before the first fight due to a shoulder injury he suffered.
Logan said: "I was very pleased with Liam's performance. He is a tough kid. He is a good looking boy so people don't think he is as tough as he is, especially as he has pulled out of fights in the past due to injuries.
"It was a really tough camp and a steep learning curve. No disrespect to his former trainer, but I don't think the old Liam Shinkwin wouldn't have beaten Ryan Taylor. Liam used to stand too tall and was easy to hit.
"My job for this fight was to make him harder to hit and he was superb on Saturday. He has always had quick hands but it is important that you move your head and your feet as well."
Shinkwin started his professional career in 2008 but after two wins and a draw, he had a two-year break from the pro ranks due to "women trouble and personal reasons".
He turned amateur for a few bouts before returning to the pro game in 2011 and is currently unbeaten, with six wins and a draw to his name.
The boxer explained: "I’m always too busy trying to please everyone else and now I’ve got to start thinking about me. You’ve got to be a bit selfish sometimes in this game."
"I’ve always seen myself making it though, it is just I haven't delivered," he said.
"It was almost as though I was so sure it was always going to happen that before I knew it, I had turned 27 and I still hadn’t done it yet. It was a case of realising that I had to work at it rather than just believing."
Shinkwin almost didn't make Saturday's title fight though. He explained: "I kept saying to Gary that I knew I could beat him and there’s no way he can beat me. But we had a few sparring sessions where Gary wasn't happy with me one bit and he said to me you’ve got to show me something on Friday or I’ll pull you out. He said I don’t need this fight to earn me money, I want you to win."
Logan continued the story: "I have high expectations of the fighters that I train and if I feel they are not listening then I tend to get in a strop and at that time, he wasn't as attentive as he could have been and he paid the price because it was a good level of sparring.
"Thankfully he came out the other end, showed improvement and showed that he was not only going to participate in this fight but he was going to win it.
"He kept pushing on and the one thing I won't doubt about him moving forward is his toughness."
Like most fighters, Shinkwin's dream would be to appear on the undercard of this summer's super fight between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler at the O2 but at present it seems 'very unlikely'.
Picture: Action Images.
The Bushey fighter sold £10,000 worth of tickets for Saturday's fight, despite his cousin Miles initially being scheduled to fight at Wembley Arena himself this weekend, which makes him an attractive option for promoters.
Shinkwin, who isn't tied down to one promoter, is considering his options for the coming months and his trainer hopes to secure him a six or eight-round fight in May before defending the Southern Area title later in the year.
Logan believes Shinkwin has the talent to break into the top ten lightweights in Britain in the next 12 months and hopes he can fight for an English title.
The trainer said: "His next few fights certainly won't be against soft opponents because those days are over now. You have to learn and learn quick.
"Obviously I wouldn't put him in against someone who has 20 wins and 20 knock-outs but at the same time, he has to fight good opponents because it will push him on as well - the better the fighter, the better he will perform I believe.
"It is a changing game, there is not a lot of money in the game any more and some of those fighters are not going to be mollycoddled any more and they are going to have to learn how to fight."
Shinkwin is sponsored by Lantern Recovery and Urban Kings Gym.