The Comeback: Chris Kongo
By BN24 staff: Echoing a story I wrote just a few days ago on BN24 about another British boxer being assaulted with a knife in the mid-2000s, this is yet another tale of boxing helping a young man escape a life of crime and the inevitable sour ending that accompanies it.
Just like world-rated cruiserweight Richard Riakporhe, underrated welterweight Chris Kongo (13-1) was stabbed as a teenager on the streets of England’s capital city, before embracing the gym as well as the dedicated and disciplined lifestyle of being a boxer.
Last night, both promising contenders were fighting separate opponents at Wembley Arena, instead of fighting on the streets.
In Bermondsey, Kongo admitted to being lured into the gang culture of south London, but thankfully escaped that life and proceeded to achieve over 70 wins as an amateur. At one point, he was part of the renowned and highly-respected Team GB squad.
‘2slick’ was mostly developed through the British small-hall scene after turning pro in 2016 and caught the eye of some boxing purists. Fights with the top domestic welterweights were hard to come by as he appeared to be viewed as high risk and low reward by many within the sport.
The 29-year-old’s standout win came in the summer of 2020, on the Whyte/Povetkin PPV, sadly in front of only a handful of observers during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. He was matched with Luther Clay in a 50/50 clash for the WBO’s global 147-pound strap.
A ninth-round knockout via two quality left hooks forced Clay’s corner to throw the towel in as their man was on the verge of being counted out. Kongo had arrived, and announced himself to those who hadn’t followed his rise as a prospect.
In his next outing, the notoriously awkward and undefeated southpaw, Michael McKinson narrowly outpointed Kongo in a close bout. Without the WBO belt as a bargaining chip and the ranking that comes with it, he was back in the ‘who needs him’ club. Kongo understandably blamed the loss on a lack of activity having only fought once in the two years preceding the McKinson fight.
Now under the tutelage of Ben Davison, a trainer who seems to know nothing but success, Kongo is looking ahead to big fights. The ultra-confident welterweight believes he can be the very best in the world at 147-pounds, and has sparred the undisputed 140-pound world champion, Josh Taylor, so knows what it takes to box against someone at the summit of the sport. He has previously called out one of Britain’s biggest names in the welterweight division – Conor Benn – and stated that he would decisively knock him out.
In January, the Dillian Whyte-managed pugilist signed a multi-fight promotional deal with Boxxer.
“I have a new promoter to push me and get me to where I want to be at world level,” he said about joining Boxxer. “And to challenge for a world title and of course a new trainer in Ben who will ensure that I get back to the top.”
With only two fights materialising in just under three years, Kongo and his team are desperate for a busy 2022. That campaign began last night with an eight-round scrap against Kelvin Dotel at Wembley Arena in his debut under the Boxxer promotional banner.
He comfortably outpointed Dotel and, at the same time as banking rounds, shed some ring rust. No doubt Kongo will have his eyes on next weekend’s welterweight clash between Florian Marku and Chris Jenkins.
In last night’s headlining act, the aforementioned Richard Riakporhe stopped Deion Jumah with a sickening body shot in the eighth round, after also decking him with a heavy counter right in the fourth round. Jumah boxed well in the early stages, but couldn’t cope with Riakporhe’s power. ‘The Midnight Train’ rolls on towards a 200-pound world title shot.
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