Miles Shinkwin's wait for a Southern Area title shot continues but the Bushey boxer does have a trial run next month when he fights for his first professional belt next month.
Shinkwin has been chasing a shot at Southern Area light-heavyweight champion Leon Senior in recent months and appeared to be closing in when the former Bushey Boxing Club member made it six wins out of six in November with a third-round stoppage of Vaclav Polak.
However, he has yet to persuade Senior to take the bout so Shinkwin has decided to challenge for the International Masters title instead, facing Czech fighter Josef Krivka (4-4) at York Hall in Bethnal Green on March 22.
Shinkwin has access to an excellent training partner in the shape of stablemate and British Cruiserweight champion, Tony Conquest, and last week he also sparred with former world champion Nathan Cleverly for six rounds. But the former Queens School pupil has stressed the importance of securing rounds after less than 12 minutes of competitve action in the last seven months.
Shinkwin said: “I could have either fought in another six or eight rounder or challenge for this belt against someone who is about 80 places above me in the European rankings in a ten-rounder, which I haven’t done before. The weigh-in is also the day before, like if I was fighting for the Southern Area title, so it is like a trial run for the Southern Area title but the difference is I could get a belt at the end of it.
“It is important that I get some rounds in because I have only boxed four rounds since July. Yes I have had six fights in a year but since July I knocked someone out in round one and another in round three so I need to get some rounds in.
“I have had some brilliant sparring - like I sparred with Nathan Cleverly last week - and I am always training with Tony Conquest but it is never the same as fighting.”
“And hopefully this fight will help me progress to having a Southern Area title shot,” Shinkwin added.
Shinkwin spoke of his excellent training camp; praising his trainer Jason Rowland, conditioning coach Joe Reemer and stablemates Conquest and Mitchell Smith, who is also a former Bushey Boxing Club member and widely tipped to impress in the super featherweight division.
Shinkwin said: “We are all pushing to get to the same level so everyone is pushing each other and stepping up. When one person reaches a certain level, the others are desperate to do the same. And with Joe also training Tony Conquest, I am so competitve that I always want to better him.”
Shinkwin was disappointed with the way he approached his last fight, claiming he was complacent during the immediate build-up due to the standard of opposition.
His trainer stressed “it must never happen again” and Shinkwin is confident he will be fully focussed, especially with a title on the line.
Shinkwin said: “If I look good in winning this title then there are plenty of fights out there. There are plenty of fighters who won the International Masters and then went on to win other belts like the Southern Area. Bradley Skeete did it, Ricky Boylan did it and Audley Harrison won the International Masters before going on to fight for the British title. So whilst it isn’t the most prestigeous title, it isn’t just a piece of plastic and it has credibility.
“In boxing you also have to be seen to be fighting a certain number of rounds.
“So the fact I am fighting a ten-rounder should also help me when it comes to the governing bodies.”
His opponent, Krivka, may have only won half of his eight fights but all the victories were by knock-out.
“He is a step up,” Shinkwin said. “He has won four of his eight fights but in all of those wins he knocked the person out. The only guys who have stopped him are unbeaten.
“I haven’t seen much of him. I will let my trainer Jason watch him and create a plan for him.
“There is a title on the line so I’m sure it will be like a world title fight for him and he will be desperate to win it.”
Shinkwin is sponsored by The Shire golf course, Holywell Grab and Skip Hire, RCD printers, Boxfit and SRD Recruitment.