JENKINS SET TO SEAL PERFECT YEAR IN SWANSEA

On Friday, Swansea’s Chris ‘Rock n Rolla’ Jenkins (11-0, 5KO) aims to wrap up a hugely successful 2013 in the same place he started it, his home city of Swansea. The 25-year-old headlines Paul Boyce Promotions’ six fight show at the Oceana nightclub in the city centre , Jenkins honestly and humbly struggles to believe it. He said, “It’s been six or seven fights away and now I’m back home boxing on a local show. I’ve come on leaps and bounds in the last six months. It’s mad to be headlining a show in Swansea, I’ve only been a pro two years and I know it’s a small show but I’m top of the bill now. Life is going a bit quick at the minute.” Jenkins was the west’s best kept secret until he burst on to the British boxing scene in July when he became Prizefighter light-welterweight champion, he’s proud of his performance and says it changed his career. He said, “I was unknown. I’m not from Cardiff way like most of the main boys are like Gary Buckland, Lee Selby or Gavin Rees. Nobody notices the boys from Swansea, all of a sudden I come from nowhere and win the Prizefighter. Now everyone is starting to know who I am and it shows that there’s some talent down the west too. “Since Prizefighter, it’s all fallen in to place lovely. I’m now paid to train by numerous sponsors and it all adds up, I can afford to train twice a day and not worry the bills getting paid because I’ve got an income, y’know? “If you’re going to work nine to five every day and you’re grafting, you’ll go to the gym and you haven’t got 100% because you’ve been working all day. I get up in the morning now, I go for my run or cycle and then I can chill out all day with my family, relax and do general day-to-day things.” The man responsible for keeping boxing in the west alive is also the man Jenkins credits a lot of his own success to, Paul Boyce who invests time and money in to an underrated boxing region. Jenkins said, “My promoter Paul is keeping me busy with these small hall shows. I was meant to fight last week on the Carl Froch v George Groves undercard but because I was getting married it obviously meant I had to fight a week later. McKray is the only person we could get because nobody in Britain wants to fight me. “Paul isn’t out there to make money for himself, he’s there to try help us out and hopefully we’ll have financial security for our future. He’s not just a manager or promoter, he’s a friend as well and he’s there for us all and doesn’t just concentrate on one individual boxer.” The opponent who Jenkins will face on Friday is London’s dangerous journeyman Mark McKray (5-22-1, 4KO) and the Welshman recognises that he’ll need to stay sharp and use the technical skills taught to him by coaches Ronnie Morris and Jimmy Bloomfield at Cwmgors ABC. He said, “To be honest, I’ve only seen a bit of him but I know all the fighters he beat, he’s knocked them out. He’s no average journeyman. It’ll be a tough test this weekend but as long as I keep my boxing together then I can get the win before Christmas. “He’s gunna be cheeky with his head, swinging his big bombs but if I box with my skill, I think I’ll beat him every round. He’s going to come to win. It’s not just a pay cheque to him because if he beats me, you know, it’s a good name to have on his record.” So far, the furthest Jenkins has been taken is six rounds and his long term goal is the British title, a 12 round contest. In between that is the 10 round Welsh title and should Jenkins see off McKray, the Welsh title is something Jenkins is more than worthy of. Matchroom Sport and Sky Sports, who Jenkins has an affiliation with, look like they’re coming to Cardiff on February 1st and it’s looking likely that former European champion Jason Cook will be a defend his Welsh title in a farewell fight. There has been talk that it will be against Tony Pace, while many observers want it to be against Jenkins. When asked for his opinion on the situation, Jenkins remained modest and respectfully refused to call out anyone, he said, “I don’t say what fights I’m interested in and what I’m not interested in, I leave that to my manager and promoter. I’ve seen that Tony Pace wants to be called up for it… I don’t know, this is boxing and it’s down to the promoters at the end of the day. Obviously, Cookie has done so much in boxing and he’s been such a good sportsman for Wales. If it comes off, it comes off but I’m not holding my breath, you know? “There’s so many titles out there but after winning the Welsh title as an amateur, it would be nice to pick it up and be professional Welsh champion. Right through from schoolboys, juniors, youth and senior – altogether I think I won 11 Welsh amateur titles. “I want to start picking it up now with eight rounders, 10 rounders. Hopefully in the next 12-18 months, I’ll be knocking on the door for a British title. I’ve got respect for every fighter out there, so I’m not going to start saying ‘I want to box him or him’. Welsh champion would be progression and I suppose, if I do have a title then I can get more noticed again and it’ll open doors.”

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