by James Slater - Tonight, at The Velodrome in Manchester, Birmingham's 27-year-old Matthew Macklin made shockingly short work of the experienced and respected Amin Asikainen of Finland. Fighting for the vacant European middleweight title on the Ricky Hatton-promoted show, Macklin and 33-year-old Asikainen were expected by most good judges to put on a close, nip and tuck type affair, with the fight likely to go into the later rounds.
Article posted on 26.09.2009
Instead, in scoring the finest win of his pro career thus far, Macklin uncorked a perfect left hook to the head in the very first round, putting Asikainen down and all but ending the fight. The Fin bravely beat the count, on sheer instinct more than anything else, but he was in bad shape and on unsteady legs. Put down a few seconds later by a series of right hands to the head, the visiting fighter again beat the count but was clearly dazed upon doing so. The Italian referee, seeing how splayed Asikainen's legs were, and how badly hurt he still was, waved the fight off at two minutes and 34-seconds of the round..
Complaining about the stoppage, Asikainen really had no cause for argument. For though there were less than 30-seconds left in the round, it was tough to see how the 33-year-old would have made it to the bell. He appeared totally gone.
Macklin, who will now see his ranking in the world ratings climb significantly, improved to 25-2(18). The stunned Asikainen fell to 26-3(17).
Coming out with his hands held high and jabbing well, the former European champion who has a win over new IBF middleweight ruler Sebastian Slyvester gave no indication he would wind up getting nailed so hard so quickly. But Macklin saw an opening and fired in a beautiful left hook that landed flush on Asikainen's chin. Down hard, the fight looked all over, which, in effect it was.
Looking to his corner and on wobbly legs, Asikainen was soon decked again, giving the third man in the ring no alternative but to stop the bout. Though Amin briefly protested the stoppage, there appeared to be no hard feelings between tonight's winner and loser. The two embraced after the official result was announced, and, showing real sportsmanship, Macklin even lifted Asikainen up into the air.
Macklin, a fighter Ricky Hatton has called one of the most exciting in Britain, now has a real chance of fighting for a major world title.