THE BIG MILES SHINKWIN INTERVIEW! BRITISH, BUGLIONI, BURTON & MORE!

The 175lbs domestic scene has caught on fire this year. There is no other way to describe it. A juicy plotline has slowly developed throughout the course of the year, providing more turns than a hotel doorknob.

But aside from the Matchroom stronghold of Light-Heavyweight talent and turning attention away from Frank Warren’s self-proclaimed ‘boogeyman’, FightTalk.net go in depth with a man who has quietly chiselled himself the equation. A mandatory challenger for the English title, and dreams of much, much more, this is the BIG Miles Shinkwin interview.

An accomplished amateur and a professional resume that boasts a ‘who’s who’ of domestic Light-Heavy names, Watford local lad Shinkwin has amassed a record of 14-2-0 since turning over as a professional in 2012.

An injury saw Hobbs pull out of his scheduled 23rd September bout with Shinkwin at York Hall. Josip Perkovic stepped in and provided replacement, as Miles looked to shake off 9 months ring rust. A decent, solid performance saw a points victory. Not quite the English title eliminator he was hoping, but a needed win and the best way to open accounts in 2017.

‘’Since the last fight I had a ten-day holiday with the family, and then I was back into training. Back into how we were; obviously not the sparring, but everything else is back to were we were when we were finishing for the last fight. Back dieting, back running, back training. I’m just waiting on the phone call for the next date.’’

‘’ I am mandatory for the English and will fight the winner of Chris Hobbs and Liam Conroy so if he has something worth taking, I will do it. But the way he spoke to me after the fight, I am not too worried.’’

A shot at the title is eminent. A common ‘blessing and a curse’ situation for fighters. Stuck in limbo waiting for a shot, not wanting ‘ring rust’ to set in. Waiting.

However, if the opportunity were to ever arise of a rematch with Hosea Burton, you can bet your life savings that Shinkwin would grab it with both hands. A cracking encounter the first time round saw a relatively even contest until the eventual knockout, and Shinkwin wanted to right some wrongs.

‘’The plan is to fight again this year, but we won’t just take a fight for the sake of it. We want to challenge for a title for a belt or any meaningful match. We love the Burton rematch, it was a great fight whilst it lasted. Obviously, I was on the wrong end of the result, there are a few mistakes there I want to put right. That’s the fight I want before the end of the year.’’

The only blemishes on an otherwise perfect record take the form of a TKO defeat to Hosea Burton and a controversial points loss to old foe Joel McIntyre.

 ‘’I would love the third fight with McIntyre at some point. But some people don’t realise that I was supposed to fight Tom Baker for the English. He [Baker], retired instead of fighting me and we sort of rung the Board and approach them about giving McIntyre the opportunity for the vacant title.’’

‘’He took the opportunity. The judges said he won the fight. We asked for a return and was told to go elsewhere basically. We were back at the bottom of the pile to get into position. He’s just been knocked out, so he is way at the bottom of the pile.’’

A trilogy beckons. The first two were barnstormers, and although the boxer in Shinkwin yearned for the fight, money is always the motive. In an age where the opportunity to make a name of yourself presents itself on every corner, the Goodwin managed fighter knew the importance of remaining savvy in the game.

 ‘’My career doesn’t rest on the third fight with Joel McIntyre. I spoke to his trainer recently and he said our last two fights were both worthy for TV, and worth a lot more money than we got paid. So if we can get Tv and a good belt, I would be up for it. It would be deserving to be on TV and get a good payday.

 ‘’I wouldn’t go down to Portsmouth again. The only chance of him fighting me was in Portsmouth, and basically a phonebox [referring to the size of the ring]. After the weigh in and wearing the Southampton shirt, which in hindsight wasn’t a great idea, I got all sorts. Death threats, I got ‘’hope you die in a coma’’, this and that, stuff I can’t really relate too, there is no place in the sport for it.’’

An experience that would leave a bitter taste in the mouth of any man. Still, boxing truly is a sport where you learn on the job, and Shinkwin emerged a wiser man from the saga.

 I wouldn’t rush back down there again it would have to be a neutral venue. The first fight was in a neutral venue. London is a neutral. It took me as long to drive to York Hall as it would for Portsmouth. The shirt didn’t bother me, it was all a laugh and a joke really.’’

‘’But as I say, my career doesn’t rest on a third fight with Joel McIntyre.’’

I believed Shinkwin when he said that the McIntyre fight was not on his mind. As the conversation dug deeper, the ambitions of the four time national amateur champion became clear. He had tasted the sweet taste of victory in the amateurs, and now entirely focussed on achieving the same in the professional game.

A stint as Southern Area champion in 2014/2015 has fuelled the fire, and now Shinkwin has his vision firmly set on becoming the eventual ruler of the domestic roost. Both defeats in his career came in bouts for the British belt, and I felt the hunger as Shinkwin described his passion to finally claim what he had came so close too.

‘’The plan for end for the year would be to get my hands on English, British, Commonwealth belt, something meaningful. We are not really interested in going over old ground. The English, British would be the minimum requirement.’’

Frank Buglioni and Callum Johnson hold the British and Commonwealth belts respectively, and were due to face off in a ‘domestic unification’ of sorts, propping up the newly announced Anthony Joshua vs Carlos Takam undercard.

‘’My gym mate Frank, is a gym mate of mine and is the current British champion. He is challenging for the Commonwealth next week and then he can have a voluntary and maybe look onto bigger and better things, leaving the door open for someone to challenge for both them belts. Ideally that will be me. That is the goal and once we have reached that we can push on from there.’’

Since then things have changed. Original opponent and Commonwealth became the latest casualty of the seemingly ‘cursed’ 28th Millenium Stadium pay-per-view extravaganza. In a busy week, Craig ‘Spider’ Richards was not only announced as the latest member of the FightTalk.net family, but as the last-minute stand in to face British champion, Frank Buglioni.

When asked if he would’ve consider the opportunity to step in with stablemate and close friend, Buglioni, Shinkwin’s answer was short, simple, and concise.

‘‘We’re gym mates.’’

Loyalty is a rare and amicable quality in boxing, and as Miles gave me his take on his career, I gauged that it was a quality held close to the Light-Heavyweight man. Fully faithful of his comrade, Shinkwin gave his take on the freshly matched duo.

‘’I think Frank has to be prepared to lose the first four or five rounds. Then he will take over and break him [Richards] down.’’

The conversation eventually ran back to Shinkwin and his own ambitions in boxing. With the explosion of media platforms clamouring to broadcast boxing, the opportunities available for fighters is growing exponentially.

And with eight Goodwin managed fighters fighting on the televised Hayemaker card last weekend, the path is clear, and the stage is set for the Watford man to make his mark not only on friends, family and spectators, but to the masses who tune in weekly to watch televised boxing.

‘’I only really tuned into the Joyce vs Lewison fight. Lewison trains at the same gym as me so I tuned in for that. That was the only bit of the card I saw really. Any TV opportunity I would be interested in. TV is the way forward.’’

Now five years into his venture as a professional boxer, Shinkwin is no stranger to the inner workings of the sweet science, and was under no illusion when talking about who held the cards in the stacked domestic Light-Heavyweight scene.

‘’It is no secret that Matchroom is the biggest platform at the moment. Eddie Hearn has got Frank {Buglioni], Burton, and Johnson, Jake Ball and a couple other Light Heavyweights. So there is some good fights to made out there domestically. And we can all make some good fights and some good money for each other. That’s the plan, but anything Steve advises me to do will be the right way forward. He hasn’t done too badly with Frank [Buglioni] and others, so that will be the way forward for me.’’

Emerging as ‘the man’ for small hall shows and domestic level fighters, Shinkwin only had good words to speak about his relationship with Steve Goodwin.

‘’I’ve only signed with Steve in a managerial capacity. The plan is too work ourselves into a position where a promotor can’t say no. Whether that means winning an English in my next fight or a fight after. We boxed the other day just to get back out.

 I can’t fault Steve as a manager. First day he showed me some opponents and we picked out Chris Hobbs as an English title eliminator and it was sorted in 24 hours and a date and venue was announced. So on that I cant fault him. I have text him probably too many times and he replies every time.’’

I have interviewed many Goodwin managed/promoted fighters over the past few months. I can honestly say I am yet to meet someone who had a bad word to say about the veteran promotor. The next anecdote epitomises the reason so many trust Steve Goodiwn.

‘’I remember the first time I met Steve, it was when I was just turning professional and I was handing him some ticket money back. I gave him £20 too much and he came chasing me out of the office and handed me the money back. I know certain individuals in boxing and who wouldn’t do that.’’

‘’So that day on I’ve had a lot of respect for Steve, and I still do now. I hope we can go on to achieve some good things in the sport.’’

Before we ended proceedings, I was interested to find Miles’ take on Anthony Yarde and the whole saga surrounding his ‘right’ to bypass mandatory opponents and challenge Buglioni for the British.

 ‘’Yarde looks the part. He has done everything asked of him so far, but at a lot lower level than what Frank has competed at. He was competitive in his world title fight, is the current British champion, and I have sparred a lot of rounds with him so I know how good he can be.’’

In what quickly emerged as a classic Eddie Hearn vs Frank Warren standoff, rumours and purse offers began to circulate social media, whipping up a storm of interest and opinion. Politics aside, Shinkwin’s judgement was not clouded by business, and as always, the boxing itself was to be the deciding factor.

‘’For me, Frank would win right now, until Yarde steps up. The Burton fight would’ve been a great test for him. Again, I think Burton would have won. I think the fact they didn’t take that fight says a lot about what they think as well. But again, Yarde-Buglioni is a great clash of styles, with Yarde being the boxer and Frank being the aggressor…’’

‘’I can’t see it happening, the amount of money was that was discussed, it seemed mad that it didn’t happen. Frank is champion, will want to keep his belt and won’t be dictated too [take the fight], so you have to respect him for that.’’

The 175lbs division makes a strong case to be one of the hottest for domestic talent in the UK right now. A host of seasoned, exciting contenders fill up the proverbial hat, ready to be matched and deliver the fireworks for which the Light-Heavyweights have become famous.

And sitting pretty in the middle of it all is Miles Shinkwin.

A local lad true to his roots, ready to mix it with the best as he looks to enter the second half of his fascinating career with a flourish.

 Follow Miles’ journey on Twitter: @milesshinkwin

Written by Thomas Humber
@thomas_humber