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Former Crystal Palace striker Leon McKenzie ready to start boxing career

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FORMER Crystal Palace striker Leon McKenzie has revealed he would like to have a Croydon-based company sponsor him for his professional boxing debut in June.

The 34-year-old, son of former British and European champion Clinton McKenzie and nephew of three-time world champion Duke McKenzie, admits he cannot wait to get in the ring after training hard for the last couple of months.

"The fight is nine weeks away but I've been into eight weeks of camp so far," McKenzie said.

"I've got a few interesting people on board and a lot of my family too.

"Duke is training me while my cousin Leroy is motivating me – there are around five or six McKenzies involved really.

"I'm really enjoying the training and I can't wait to have this opportunity to go in the ring now.

"When you look at everything that I've been through, it's unbelievable really.

"I can only take each fight as it comes, but I am going to be well prepared and I really can't wait."

And the fight, set for the end of June, will be held at the same venue where his father won his first fight back in 1976.

"I won't know who I'm facing until the last four weeks before the fight, but that's down to my manager," said McKenzie, who left Palace in 2000 before going onto play most notably for Peterborough United, Norwich City and Coventry City.

"I'll be getting someone who is super-middleweight, and we're going to hold the fight on Friday, June 28, at York Hall, Bethnal Green.

"That is where my dad made his professional boxing debut, which has sentimental value to me as well. I am confident a few footballers I know will be coming down to watch as well."

Now, McKenzie, who scored more than 100 goals in his career, is looking for one more sponsor to help him achieve further aims and ambitions as he begins a new chapter of his life in the boxing ring.

"I've got two sponsors so far but I just want that third one to pop up in regards with what I'm trying to do," said McKenzie, who released his hard-hitting autobiography My Fight With Life in November.

"One is called twentyfour7 Football magazine, which is owned by Darragh MacAnthony, the Peterborough United chairman.

"He is my main sponsor for the fight and I've got another smaller sponsor from a marketing company."

And the Croydon-born man would like a Croydon-based company to get in touch if they would like to be part of his amazing life journey and feature heavily in both local and national media.

"Croydon-wise, I am just hoping someone comes out of the woodwork to be my final sponsor," he said.

"I would like to get someone from within the sporting area, and I'm not asking for loads of money either – maybe a couple of grand, not like £10,000-£20,000.

"It's literally a couple of grand to help with my training and my travelling where I can continue to focus and progress further.

"You have your big companies on the high street who cover your Amir Khans, but there might be a smaller brand that might think it's a nice story with my life and it would definitely be worth doing.

"I think with the amount of media attention I'm about to get over the next couple of months, it would be a good idea for any company to help out with."

Asked whether someone from Selhurst Park might be interested in helping out, McKenzie believes anything can be made possible through football but he does not want to step on anyone's toes at an important time of the season.

"To get someone on board from Palace? I don't know," he admitted.

"Ian Holloway is a good man and he respects me a lot, but it's not a good time to ask him or anyone at the club as they're going through the play-offs at the moment.

"All I know is, through football it's possible.

"There is one former professional player I know who has a sponsor and they give him a monthly wage while he trains for boxing.

"I'm not looking for a monthly wage, but for the sake of a couple of grand, I don't think I'm asking for too much in terms of a sponsor.

"People have to remember I don't play football anymore, so any help would be greatly appreciated."

If you're interested in sponsoring Leon and having your company's name showcased on a wider scale, e-mail our sports reporter mark.ritson@essn media.co.uk or, if you're on Twitter, you can tweet him @LeonMckenzie1

Former Crystal Palace striker Leon McKenzie ready to start boxing career


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