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Dave Woodhall’s Fighting Talk

MATT FINISH PAINTS ELCOCK INTO A CORNER

17-03-2009

In the Battle of Brum at the Aston Events centre on Saturday, Matt Macklin pulled off a surprise victory against British middleweight champion Wayne Elcock. Dave Woodhall reports from ringside.

Ian Johnson’s been covering boxing for the Mail almost back to the time the Marquis of Queensbury was making up his rules, yet still had the grace to look faintly abashed as he turned and said “I got that one wrong.”

Ian wasn’t the only one. Ringside opinion had been split as to the likely outcome of the British middleweight title clash between champion Wayne Elcock and challenger Matthew Macklin at the Aston Events Centre last Saturday. But no-one predicted that Macklin would rip away the title in such explosive fashion, stopping Elcock inside a minute of the third round with an explosive two-fisted assault that left the champion floored and then unable to respond to Macklin’s renewed barrage.

The fighters had entered the packed arena scarcely ten minutes earlier. Elcock’s followers seemed just in the majority, and the electric atmosphere befitted the occasion. The first round got under way with Macklin the busier fighter, using his greater strength to push Elcock around the ring on one occasion. Both men seemed wary of the other although a combination of punches from Elcock towards the end of the round possibly edged him the opener.

The second was more open, as both boxers seemed to be settling down and Macklin, in particular, seemed far more controlled than he has in previous fights. Elcock was forced onto the defensive as Macklin’s left began to find its target, then Macklin caught the champion with a good combination as the round ended.

The third opened with Macklin probing for openings behind a regular jab, until he exploded a vicious right hand to Elcock’s face, stunning the champion. Macklin seized the opportunity and unleashed a vicious combination of head punches which sent Elcock to the canvas. The champion bravely regained his feet and took the full standing eight count but was in no fit state to defend himself against Elcock’s renewed barrage and referee Victor Loughlin called off the contest after 59 seconds of the third round.

Happily Elcock made a quick recovery and the new champion, whose pre-fight predictions had proved no idle boast, picked his vanquished opponent off his feet and carried him around the ring in acknowledgment of a man Macklin called “A fantastic ambassador for Birmingham boxing”.

Macklin later declared that his ambitions now lie on the world stage, although there is talk of a first defence against Wolverhampton’s Darren McDermott, beaten on cuts by Elcock last year, before the Birmingham fighter sets his plans further afield.

Elsewhere on the bill there was a late change to the chief supporting bout when English welterweight champion Adnan Amar, due to defend his crown against Southern Area champion Tom Glover, was forced to pull out after being taken to hospital following a fall at his home. Amar’s replacement, Lee Symonds, took the fight at short notice and although starting well, unsurprisingly ran out of steam in the later stages of a non-title eight-rounder, Glover taking the decision by a point.

Mancunian heavyweight prospect Tyson Fury extended his professional record to four out of four, all inside the distance, but was made to work for the win by Lincoln journeyman Lee Swaby in a contest scheduled for six rounds.
At 6’ 8” and weighting in at 17 st 12lbs, Fury certainly looks the part and was busier throughout, picking off his opponent with a solid jab and a couple of eye-catching combinations. As the fourth round progressed Swaby looked to be in trouble and his corner did the right thing in retiring their man during the interval.

Fury will doubtless progress into British title contention – his name, size and outspoken personality make him a promoter’s dream - but he will have to sharpen up his movement to move beyond that level.

Opening the bill was light-heavyweight Quinton Hillock from Dudley, who won his second pro fight by outpointing Sheffield’s Lee Duncan over four rounds. Hillocks started brightly but spend much of the fight swinging wildly as his opponent seemed content to avoid being hit rather than landing too many punches himself. Hillock took a deserved victory 39 points to 38.

Dudley featherweight Chris Male extended his record to 4-0 by outpointing debutant Pavils Senkovs, originally from Latvia but now fighting out of Mansfield, over four rounds. Male looked sharp throughout, bloodying his opponent’s nose with a sharp jab in the third to delight his fans in the arena by taking every round on the referee’s scorecard.

Callum Archer beat fellow Brummie Jason Nesbitt in a four-rounder at welterweight, extending his record to three wins, with one defeat and a draw. Archer was the busier throughout and despite suffering a graze under his left eye took the fight by a score of 40-37.

The final fight of the night saw Chris Lewis of Wolverhampton looking sharp when outpointing Andy Kelly in a four round contest at light-welterweight to take his 100% record to six fights.

Other news at ringside concerned what might be a surprise shot at the British welterweight title for West Bromwich boxer Young Mutley. Current title-holder Kell Brook had been due to defend his title against Telford’s Mark Lloyd, but the challenger has apparently been discounted as not of sufficient quality (by Sky rather than the British Boxing Board of Control, naturally) and Mutley has been pencilled in as a replacement challenger for the title he held back in 2006.

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