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Boxing: Mac happy to cash in on his fans.

Byline: By MATT BOZEAT

BRUMMIE fight fans love James McKinley so much they chuck coins at him!

The exciting light-middleweight aims to make it four wins out of four at Aston Villa Leisure Centre on Ken Purchase's latest show February 23 when Matthew Macklin and heavyweight hope Pele Reid are also in action.

McKinley's barnstorming four-round battle with John Musgrove at the venue last month ended with the sell-out crowd throwing coins into the ring to show their appreciation of a sensational scrap.

Fans throwing "nobbins" hardly ever happens these days and McKinley said he didn't realise he was being paid a massive compliment when coins started flying into the ring.

The 25-year-old said: "I thought they were throwing things at the referee because they didn't agree with the decision. I think people were worried there was going to be a riot.

"But then I realised they were throwing the money to show how much they enjoyed the fight.

"My opponent's trainer picked up most of the money, but somebody came into my changing room with about pounds 10 so I was happy enough. It's better than nothing!"

McKinley blames his supporters for his exciting reputation.

"I sell a lot of tickets and my supporters raise the roof when they announce my name," he said. "They were screaming every time I landed a punch and I got carried away by that.

"I boxed better in my second fight in Wolverhampton because all my supporters were on the balcony and I couldn't hear them shouting.

"I know the crowds love it, but I've got to stop getting drawn into fights like that."

McKinley isn't just a brawler - he was a good amateur with Small Heath ABC and reached national finals - and he says he hopes to have eight fights this year to move into title contention.

He will be having a few sleepless nights before his next fight - and that's got nothing to do with worrying about opponent Martin Sweeney.

McKinley's girlfriend Sarah gave birth to a baby boy, McCoy, this week and the proud dad reckons the latest addition to his family is set to follow in his footsteps. He said: "He's got massive hands. He will have the gloves on before you know it !"

JOE Calzaghe and Richie Wood-hall come face-to-face again in Birmingham on Friday.

They are reunited at promoter Ken Purchase's dinner evening at the Holiday Inn and their respective fathers/trainers, Enzo and Len, will also be there.

Telford favourite Wood-hall challenged Calzaghe for his WBO super-middleweight belt in December, 2000, and was stopped in 10 rounds.

Woodhall announced his retirement after only the third defeat of a 29-fight career that brought him Commonwealth, European and WBC world titles and Calzaghe has gone on to become one of Britain's greatest ever fighters.

He makes the 20th defence of his WBO title against Peter Manfredo in Cardiff on April 7 and his IBF belt i will also be on the line.

Tickets for the dinner are avail-able from 01952 250950 and 07976 842383.

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COINING IT: fans' hero James McKinley
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 28, 2007
Words:514
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