Most modern day fans will know Duke McKenzie from his work as a boxing commentator, but Duke, a 3 weight world champion will go down as one of the best British boxers to ever grace a ring.
Duke McKenzie was born in 1963 in Croydon, South London, the youngest of five brothers including the former British & Commonwealth light-welterweight champion, Clinton.
Duke came from a boxing background, his brothers all having varying degrees of success but it was brother Dudley (himself an excellent amateur winning an unprecedented 8 ABA titles) who introduced Duke to boxing at his local Croydon Gym.
Duke was the most successful of his siblings, going on to be one of the most successful British boxers of all time. He stands alone has the only British boxer to win World titles in three different weight divisions.
|Duke wins the the world bantamweight title against Gaby Canizales
Other names to have won titles in at least three weight divisions includes great names like Roberto Duran, Wilfred Benitez, Henry Armstrong, Alexo Arguello, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Jeff Fenech, Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Shane Mosley, Marco Antonio Barrera, so Duke is in great company in world boxing terms and he can be very proud to feature in such an elite group.
McKenzie began his professional career by winning his first 23 contests. During this run he picked up the British Flyweight title in only his 11th fight. In his 14th fight he added the European Flyweight title in a thrilling fight with former World Champion Charlie Magri.
In his 21st professional contest he added the IBF World Flyweight title to his collection. Duke lost the title in his 24th fight against Dave McAuley on points. Also during Duke’s first 23 fights he fought 6 times in America and once in Italy.
After suffering his first career defeat Duke posted two more wins before facing Thierry Jacob for the European title in the Bantamweight division. The fight took place in France and Duke lost once more on points. He then scored three more knockout wins before winning his second World title from Gaby Canizales.
Duke put on a great performance and won every round to capture the WBO Bantamweight World title. He made two successful defences of his new World title before losing it against Rafael Del Valle who was unbeaten at the time.
He had one more fight, a rematch with Peter Buckley which he won in the third round before stepping in to face WBO World Super-Bantamweight Champion Jesse Benavides.
McKenzie made British boxing history by becoming the only British fighter to win World titles in three weight divisions by outpointing the Champion over 12 rounds.
After losing the title to Daniel Jiminez, Duke stepped up another weight class to the Featherweight division where he won the British title from John Davison.
He went on to challenge for the WBO World title and the European title in the Featherweight division but lost against Steve Robinson and Mehdi Labdouni respectively.
Duke is undoubtedly one of the finest boxers to hail from these shores in many a year, a master technician and smooth boxer with a good chin, a three-time world champ at different weights, his feats establish him in the highest echelons of the boxing game in any era.
Fights 46 – Won 39 – By KO 20 – Lost 7
Since his retirement from the ring in 1998 – Duke has remained in boxing as one of the most respected and knowledgable commentators and analysists on tv and has worked for BBC, ITV and SkySports.
As well as his pundit exploits, Duke runs his own fitness centre in London. Here is Duke training one of his students in the video below, courtesy of Dukes website www.dukemckenzie.co.uk visit his website for more information and booking training sessions with the Duke.
|Duke McKenzie a British Boxing Legend
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