Kye MacKenzie on recent activity, motivation to compete

KYE MacKenzie is living proof that an active fighter is indeed a happy fighter.

Three fights in four months have left the reinvigorated 25-year-old with not only an impressive recent run of form, but a WBO #15 world rating at lightweight – only two places behind domestic divisional leader George Kambosos Jr – who MacKenzie has been long rumoured to face.

MacKenzie (18-1, 15 KOs) will make the first defence of his recently acquired interim WBO Asia Pacific bauble against Argentine wildcard Emiliano Martin Garcia (16-1, 13 KOs) as part of the televised ‘Star of the Ring 2’ undercard, headlined by Anthony Mundine’s regional title bout against former two-time world title challenger Tommy Browne at The Star Sydney on Wednesday night.

History has shown that when kept active, MacKenzie is one of the most dangerous properties in Australian boxing.

The Indigenous product burst onto the scene in 2014, fighting a remarkable eight times, including three championship distance fights, which speaks volumes about fighting pedigree of the Sydney-based MacKenzie, who scored career-best wins over Matt Garlett, Waylon Law and former world title challenger Clive Atwell in that particular calendar year.

MacKenzie went on to suffer a well-documented loss to Jack Asis for the IBO super featherweight title in 2015, which to this day stands alone as his only career blemish. Now guided by No Limit Boxing’s Matt Rose and trained by regarded Western Sydney mentor Mark Grech, MacKenzie aims to make the most of his second run in the spotlight.

“I have to give a big thanks to my new team,” said MacKenzie in an interview with Aus-Boxing.

“No Limit Boxing, Joss Services and Jabout are the reason why I can apply myself and be this active. It’s a good focus for my future. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to move on from the things that were holding me back, and to be so successful since returning. I owe a big thanks to my team, of course.”

MacKenzie fought just once in 2016, moving up two weight divisions to capture the vacant Australian light welterweight strap, folding the previously unbeaten Dylan Emery in just four rounds in a fight that many had tipped him to lose, purely for the tremendous difference in size.

Following this short-lived stint, MacKenzie returned with a new team before taking on hard-nosed Filipino veteran Jonel Alibio in a fight that was designed to examine the staying power of MacKenzie over an extended ten round duration. MacKenzie passed the test with flying colours, disposing of Alibio in six rounds before backing up against Nort Beauchamp to capture his first regional strap in almost three years.

The two-division Australian titleholder credits his newly-found motivation to the necessary change of scenery he made last yaer, which has kept the hard-hitting lightweight in good stead ahead of what is presumed to be another busy campaign in 2018. However, MacKenzie is the first to acknowledge that staying in shape over the New Year is never easy.

“Since I signed with No Limit Boxing and teamed up with Mark Grech in Penrith, I’ve found a huge difference as you can see in my fights,” he concluded. “I believe that I’ve really improved – and the fact I’ve been active shows the progress I’ve made – I’m getting great exposure.”

“Fighting in January is a lot tougher than most times of the year. As you can imagine, us fighters have to make a certain weight division, so we can’t splurge out and enjoy too much of the Christmas foods, or celebrate over New Years.”

“I’ve handled it fine, but I’ll get to make up for it after my fight.”

Photo: Louie Abigail