Friday 15 December 2017

Boxing: Macklin to get chance for revenge on Sturm

Bernard O'Neill

IRISH middleweight Matthew Macklin is in line for a rematch with Felix Sturm after dropping a controversial split decision to the German in his WBA world title tilt in Cologne on Saturday night.

Sturm, defending his title for a 10th time, retained his belt after earning a 113-115, 116-112, 116-112 decision in front of almost 19,000 fight fans on his own promotion in his home city.

Birmingham-born Macklin dominated the first four rounds, but Sturm, who has verbally agreed to a rematch, finished the stronger and insisted that the decision was "absolutely correct".

However, Macklin, a former Irish, British and European champion who was unbeaten in five years going into the weekend's 12-rounder, was adamant that he deserved victory.

"Not only is there no way I lost that fight by four rounds -- there's no way I didn't win it. It was a tough, hard fight, I don't deny that, but I did all the work and threw all the better punches," he fumed.


"I lost a couple of rounds, of course, and a few others were close. But if anyone looks at the fight as a whole, well, there was only one winner -- me. There was one round, I think it was the 10th, where I guess I knew I lost it, but I upped my game again in the 11th and in the last round, well, I felt I really had it won and it was just a case of not doing anything stupid.

"German television had me winning by four rounds, and they, in effect, are his partners. American television had me winning by two rounds."

Meanwhile, Dubliner Patrick Hyland claimed the vacant WBF featherweight title at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday night.

The Tallaght native stretched his unbeaten run to 23 outings after hammering out an impressive 120-108, 119-109, 120-108 points win over French puncher Phillipe Fernois over 12 rounds.

"I hope to defend this title very soon and then I will see what Brian (Peters) and my father have planned for me. After tonight I know European and World level is where I belong," said Hyland afterward.

Dubliners Robbie Long and Brendan Fitzpatrick were both stopped in the first round on Saturday's undercard. Long lasted two minutes 43 seconds against Cork's defending middleweight champion Gary O'Sullivan, and Fitzpatrick was knocked out two minutes into his clash with Belfast's Ciaran Healy.

Hyland's brothers, Paulie and Eddie, beat Stoyan Serbezov and Asen Vasilev respectively, while Stephen Ormond and Finbarr Eade beat Valentin Stoychev and Radoslav Mitev respectively.

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