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Leon McKenzie says Jahmaine Smyle bout could be his last fight in boxing

Leon McKenzie says Jahmaine Smyle bout could be his last fight in boxing
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Leon McKenzie was undefeated in eight bouts prior to his English title challenge

Leon McKenzie admits he could walk away from boxing after suffering the first loss of his career.

McKenzie came up just short in his quest to win the English super-middleweight title, losing a contentious split decision to champion Jahmaine Smyle in at York Hall on Saturday night.

It was the former Premier League striker’s ninth bout since becoming a professional fighter in 2013 and the 38-year-old says he will consider his boxing future in the coming weeks.

“I gave this fight my all. I trained so hard and I gave it my best,” McKenzie told Sportsclubsociety.

Leon McKenzie began his football career at boyhood club Crystal Palace

“I’m going to have a little time off, talk to my family and my manager and see where we go but I don’t know if I want to fight again.

“It’s something I have to think about about because I’m 39 next year. You have to appreciate I am no longer a young man but walking away from that ring I knew I had left everything in there.”

Backed up by Smyle in the second round of the contest, McKenzie appeared to slip through the ropes after losing his footing, leading to an eight-count from the referee.

The count was met by a crescendo of boos from McKenzie’s fans and that moment would ultimately prove costly, with one of the ringside judges awarding the fight to Smyle by just one round.

Adebayo Akinfenwa poses for a photo with former Northampton team-mate McKenzie (pic: Dev Trehan)

“I got tangled in the ropes and I wasn’t hurt,” McKenzie said. 

“I thought the knockdown was a little unfair and that has probably cost me the fight but the referee saw it the way he saw it, and that’s boxing. 

“I thought I’d done enough to win the fight but I was there till the end and I’d like to think my performance showed people in boxing that I can fight and that I can mix it with the best in the country.”

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