Matthew Macklin Goes For European Title Vs. Amin Asikainen Tomorrow

by James Slater - Birmingham's 27-year-old Matthew Macklin engages in a very important fight tomorrow night in Manchester, as he meets Finland's respected Amin Asikainen for the vacant European middleweight title. And if the 24-2(17) Brit can defeat the 33-year-old visiting fighter he, and his good friend Ricky Hatton, believe he will be able to move on to the world title stage soon afterwards..

Hatton, the promoter of tomorrow's card, refers to Macklin as one of Britain's most exciting fighters, and he says he feels he will come through a tough fight with Asikainen and then set himself up to be able to box for a version of the world 160-pound title.

"Matthew Macklin is a close personal friend of mine and regardless of that I think he's one of the most exciting fighters in Britain at the moment," Ricky said to Sky Sports. "He's never looked as good as he did when he won the British title in his last fight against Wayne Elcock (TKO 3 back in March). I think the manner in which he won that fight shows he's ready to move onto the European stage already.

"After that, I think we've got a world champion in the making, I really do."

But first Macklin must get past the experienced and up for it Asikainen, 26-2(17). The Fin has mixed it at top level for a while now, and he holds an 8th-round TKO win over Germany's Sebastian Sylvester, who recently won the IBF middleweight strap with a win over Giovanni Lorenzo. Asikainen has also lost to Sylvester, in a rematch of their first fight (TKO by 11). A former holder of the European championship he will be facing Macklin for tomorrow, the 33-year-old, who has never boxed in the U.K before, has ideas of having a rubber-match with the new IBF champ. Ambition, then, is as strong as ever for Asikainen.

Macklin, who has been stopped just once - down at 154-pounds, in a hell of a fight with fellow Brit Jamie Moore - has to be the pick to win in Manchester, based on him having advantages in age, fighting at home and being on a roll of seven straight wins - Macklin's confidence level is very high right now.

Asikainen has only been stopped twice himself (recent "world" title challenger Khoren Gevor TKO'ing him in 7 in his last-but-one fight) and Macklin doesn't look to be in for an early night. The younger, perhaps fresher man should be able to get the job done in around the same amount of time it took Gevor to see off Asikainen.

Article posted on 22.09.2009

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