The man who ended Mike Tyson’s reign atop the heavyweight division six years ago is threatening to put an end to another promising career before it has a chance to blossom.
Clones, Ireland veteran Kevin McBride (35-9-1, 29 KOs) might be considered the heavy underdog on Friday, July 29th, 2011 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., but he’s predicting another major upset against undefeated Polish heavyweight Mariusz Wach (24-0, 12 KOs) of North Bergen, NJ, in the main event of “Heat Wave,” presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports in association with Global Boxing Promotions.
The two are fighting in the 12-round main event for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) International heavyweight title, a belt once held by former world champions John Ruiz, David Tua, Oleg Maskaev and Oliver McCall, along with current heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
“I’m here to win,” McBride said Thursday at the Global Boxing Gym during the third leg of CES’ east-coast publicity tour. “God bless him – he’s undefeated and he has 24 wins, but I’m the champ. I’ve got more knockouts than he has wins.
“He better watch out. I know I’m still the underdog like I was against Tyson, but I feel I have the punch that can be the equalizer against anyone in the world.”
McBride is so confident he’ll win the title, he’s even gone as far as to plan his next move.
“I’m saving the fireworks for the 29th,” he said. “After I beat him, I’d like to fight [undefeated prospect] Tyson Fury and then take my shot at a world title.”
Even after beating Tyson in 2005, McBride never got a shot at world title before retiring two years later. Six months after his comeback fight in October of 2010, McBride fought former cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek for the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) International heavyweight titles, but lost a unanimous 12-round decision.
“He got tired of running around the ring because Adamek wouldn’t fight him!” Burchfield said.
A win over Wach on the 29th would bring McBride one step closer to a shot at that elusive world title.
“He’s worked real hard,” said McBride’s manager, Jerry Quinn. “He’s putting his heart and soul into this fight.”
For Wach, the stakes are equally high; with a perfect 24-0 record, he’s now ranked 13th in the WBC and is on the cusp of a major title fight if he can get past McBride next Friday.
“This fight means a lot to me. It can open a lot of doors, or those doors could be closed,” Wach said. “I’ve spent the past three months putting in endless hours training. The plan is in place; I just hope he doesn’t break my plans for the future.”
“This is what boxing needs,” Burchfield added. “Someone is going to get knocked out. There is no doubt about that.”
Wach, who last fought on Feb. 19 in a knockout win over Jonathan Haggler, has benefitted from the tutelage of trainers Juan and Carlos De Leon, who are known throughout boxing for their work with undefeated heavyweight “Baby” Joe Mesi.
“He’s a lot like Mesi,” Juan De Leon said. “I feel as though I have a future heavyweight champion on my hands.”
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore