Exclusive: Kenzie Morrison discusses Sept 23 ring return, father Tommy’s influence
Up and coming heavyweight James Kenzie Witt Morrison, to give him his full name, is back in action on September 23 as the son of former world champion Tommy bids for a tenth pro victory.
The 26 year-old, along with brother Trey, are embarking on a path neither thought was on the horizon as kids growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma – but which both are now fully focused on being successful in.
Father Tommy is a boxing legend in his own right having won the WBO title at the second attempt in 1993 and shared the ring with some of best heavyweights of the 1990’s, holding his own when doing so.
Following his sad passing in 2013, WBN spoke to Kenzie exactly three years to the day his father succumbed to illness, something that inadvertently lit the spark on both Kenzie and Trey’s future boxing careers.
Making their debuts in 2014, Trey’s being just months after Tommy departed us and Kenzie a few months after that, the pair are certainly making headlines due to their uncanny blonde resemblance to ‘The Duke.’
Through ten fights, the younger sibling by ten months has stopped eight of his opponents so far and Kenzie is currently working hard to make sure that becomes nine against Aaron Chavers in Miami, Oklahoma in a couple of weeks’ time.
“It’s going good. We’re kind of in the middle of everything right now. It’s rough, I’m sore and just ready to start doing the fine tuning. I kind of get anxious when it gets this close,” Morrison exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I don’t know too much about my opponent but I know that he’s fought in the Oklahoma City area quite a bit. He’s a big guy but he’s kind of more of a boxer-puncher like myself. I’m just looking forward to getting in there and mixing it up.”
Asked about his progress over the last two years since his first contest back in October 2014, Kenzie said the contrast was incomparable as he prepares for yet another outing at his adopted fight home at the Buffalo Run Casino.
“Oh man I’ve come on leaps and bounds really as I started off really pretty green,” he explained.
“I had trained with my dad a little bit when I was younger and then I started getting into it myself and was planning to fight about a year before I actually started. I’ve began to take it very seriously and I feel like I’ve improved quite a bit. Every fight I’m kind of learning on the job. I feel that I’m evolving but I’ve barely just scratched the surface. The last two years of my career I’ve progressed pretty quick.”
From his eight stoppages, five have come in the opening round and two in the second, with a highly-debatable draw in August 2015 against the unheralded Chris Harris remaining the only blemish on Kenzie’s record.
Certainly gaining some of his dad’s concussive power that drew Sylvester Stallone to cast him as KO artist ‘Tommy Gunn’ in Rocky V, Kenzie holds the most resemblance to Morrison and outlined that Tommy had a big influence on him and Trey, even when they were participating in other sports.
“Dad was always in our ear about getting into the sport growing up, but Trey had his eye on football and I was a basketball player,” Kenzie revealed. “Ever since I was five or six years old I have always had a heavy bag. I remember watching dad fight in person and on TV so it’s kind of who I am, you know.
“Earlier on, I had it in my mind that I was going to go to college to play basketball but I think boxing is just something that’s happened later on in life that I wish that I would have started earlier. Knowing what I know now about the sport, I could have turned pro a few years earlier but I believe everything happens for a reason and I’ve heard pros and cons for starting young and also for starting later on in life.
“I’m not sure whether it will matter in the end, but all I do know is that I’m deep in it now and am doing it full time just taking it day by day. Trey and I are fully focused and it’s something that we have set our minds to.
“I know that if I don’t give it everything I’ve got and at least try, I will regret it for the rest of my life, and that is something that pushes me to keep going every day,” he added.