Repeat or Revenge

Pompey’s Joel McIntyre Turns the Tables on Old Foe, but Miles Shinkwin Reveals a True Fighting Heart

Full report provided by Andrew Fairley, author of Pompey's Boxing Past (available here )

Whatever financial recompense Portsmouth’s Joel McIntyre and Bushey’s Miles Shinkwin received for their ten round war last Saturday for the English light-heavyweight title it wasn’t enough. Both men displayed prodigious courage, fitness and hunger to produce a contest that must qualify as a fight of the year, but ultimately it was McIntyre’s Darth Vader, search and destroy assaults that snared him championship honours and the reversal of his only career loss. Shinkwin had beaten McIntyre by 97-95 for the Southern Area in July 2014, but this time the Pompey man was transformed as he soaked up everything Shinkwin threw, and believe me the classy Bushey man threw and landed plenty of bombs throughout the ten rounds. Incredibly, none of them appeared to have any noticeable impact on the rampaging McIntyre as he romped to a 96-93, 97-93, 98-93 victory on this Michael Ballingall promotion, although it was certainly closer than that.

It’s difficult to fault Shinkwin in any way; superbly conditioned and a consummate competitor, he never stopped trying to impose himself and if not for the almost demonic relentlessness of McIntyre he would have emerged victorious, and while he didn’t return home with the title he nonetheless acquired the deep-seated respect of all in attendance. For McIntyre the contest was a vindication of his often repeated claim that he had the beating of Shinkwin, and after an emotional two weeks during which he had buried his grandfather, McIntyre channeled that pain into a career defining performance. Credit also belongs to John Murray, the trainer McIntyre had recently reunited with and who prepared his charge meticulously, not only in terms of physical fitness but also psychologically, and Murray’s contribution to the stunning victory cannot be overestimated.

Shinkwin faced a hostile crowd in the bear-pit of Portsmouth’s ‘Liquid & Envy’ nightclub, but as a former captain of England who competed all across Europe as an amateur he remained completely unfazed, and even appeared to be enjoying the catcalls before the first bell. Miles took the first with better boxing and cleaner shots, particularly a very fast jab with which he had repeated success throughout the fight as McIntyre neglected his head movement, but by the second the tide was turned as McIntyre poured forward with extremely spiteful hooks to head and body. While slightly off-balance Shinkwin shipped a left that sent him to the mat to earn a count from referee Bob Williams, but he remained cool as McIntyre followed up, and although a vicious left hook to the ribs must have hurt the Bushey man his demeanor betrayed nothing.
In the third Shinkwin attempted to stay close in an attempt to nullify McIntyre’s power and the sight of his opponent’s right eye swelling must have been an encouragement to Shinkwin, but equally it did nothing to diminish McIntyre’s ambition as he swarmed forwards, one shot sending Shinkwin stumbling across the ring before he recovered his balance. By the middle rounds it was clear that pre-fight predictions we were about to see something special were becoming a reality, and the crowd grew increasingly raucous as the spectacle unfolded. Shinkwin shared the fourth, but and although he appeared hurt from a clutch of hard punches up and down in the fifth he dug deep and fired back. The sixth opened with Shinkwin landing full-blooded left and rights but he as well have been hitting a brick wall as McIntyre shrugged them off and resumed the coshing, although Shinkwin’s superior defence and combinations of hooks and uppercuts made this round close. The crowd roared at the eye-catching exchanges in the seventh and eighth as Shinkwin refused to yield and fought fiercely to turn the tide. Perhaps inhibited by a sixteen-foot ring, Shinkwin could have used extra space in which to work and as he bravely fought fire with fire the spectators could only marvel at his sheer refusal to fold in the hurricane. In the final two rounds it was obvious that Shinkwin needed a stoppage to win, but it never seemed remotely likely as McIntyre stormed to the finish and rapturous applause for the spectacular victory. The hugely entertaining contest was a fine compliment to the Buglioni v Burton clash on the Manchester card and underlines the domestic light-heavyweight division as red-hot just now, and McIntyre will doubtless be looking to place himself at the British title table. Naturally the calls started immediately for a rubber match between Shinkwin and McIntyre and it’s a contest that should and must happen.

For McIntyre, his career proceeds anew as his association with the Goodwins and John Murray pays dividends, while for Miles Shinkwin the rebuilding must begin, but never let it be said the Bushey boxer is not a true fighting man. His KO loss to Hosea Burton earlier this year has been exorcised by his outstanding performance here, and although he travelled home without the belt, he did leave with the heartfelt respect of everyone in attendance and with his stock undiminished.

In other contests Pompey’s ex-pro footballer Dave Birmingham stopped Dave Miko of Norwich in five with a terrific performance at light-welter. Showing excellent fitness, workrate and punch variety, the 35 year old has obvious ability and is likely to figure in an Area title mix in 2017. With a great fan base the amiable Birmingham remains nonplussed at the hype surrounding his fledgling career, but he is definitely one to watch.

Mikey McKinson of Portsmouth took all six rounds against Duane Green of Norwich at light-middle. A very tidy boxer, McKinson has great potential and having banked his tenth win in succession his manager and father Michael Ballingall will soon be eying up a title challenge for the 22 yr old prospect.

Titchfield’s evergreen Danny Couzens put in a powerful performance and dominated against Hungary’s Istvan Orsos at cruiserweight. Southampton’s Jimmy Cooper and Charlie Quinn also recorded shut-out victories against Qasim Hussain at junior-lightweight and Mitch Mitchell at light-heavy respectively, and Bournemouth’s Sam Jones edged a 39-38 victory against Torquay’s Ali Wyatt at light-welter.

(Joel McIntyre (180Ibs), 15-1-0 (3) w pts 10 Miles Shinkwin (180Ibs), 13-2-0 (7)
Dave Birmingham (140Ibs), 3-0-0 (1) w RSF 5 Dave Miko (139Ibs), 0-2-0
Mikey McKinson (154Ibs), 9-0-0 (1) w pts 6 Duane Green (153Ibs), (4-22-4)
Danny Couzens (200Ibs), 7-10-2 (1) w pts 4 Istvan Orsos (198Ibs), 15-37-2 (5)
Charlie Quinn (178Ibs), 2-0-0, w pts 4 Mitch Mitchell (178Ibs), 7-54-3 (3)
Jimmy Cooper (130bs), 4-0-1 (1), w pts 4 Qasim Hussain (130Ibs), 4-72-2
Sam Jones (1391bs), 3-0-0 (1), w pts 4 Ali Wyatt (138lbs), 6-52-2 (3))