Enzo Maccarinelli v Shane McPhilbin British Cruiserweight Title Fight Preview

Big Enzo steps back up to cruiserweight to face hard punching champ McPhilbin

Former world champ Enzo Maccarinelli looks to continue his latest ring comeback when he takes on British cruiserweight champion Shane McPhilbin at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton tonight, the first time he has fought for domestic honors. Maccarinelli has recently been competing as a light heavyweight with a view to an all-Welsh world title fight with WBO champion Nathan Cleverly in Cardiff later this year. McPhilbin pulled off a shock twelfth round KO over Leon Williams in January after being a mile behind on points to lift the British crown. This will be his first defence.

31 year old Maccarinelli (34-5, 27 KOs) looked finished when he was knocked out by Ukrainian Alexander Frenkel in September 2010, the fifth knockout loss of his career. The former WBO cruiserweight champion had suffered a series of chilling KO losses, beginning with a two round defeat to David Haye in a unification fight in 2008, and continuing against Ola Afolabi (KO 9) and Dennis Lebedev (TKO 3). One can allude to the fact that Afolabi and Lebedev are top ranked contenders, and that Frenkel, though currently inactive, is a dangerous and unbeaten fighter, but the fact is Maccarinelli's punch resistance did look alarmingly low in those defeats.

When Maccarinelli is allowed to catch an opponent cleanly, he is one of the best front runners in boxing. At 6'4'', Big Enzo can hammer down on a rival with that tremendous straight right of his, or rip in lethal hooks to the body. His left jab is a ramrod, though relatively underused in his wins. Maccarinelli loves quick endings, and has thirteen KOs scored in one round and seven in two. Four of his last five wins have come in the first round, the other in the second.

Last time out he looked a little ragged and was tagged a couple of times by Irish journeyman Ciaran Healy before ending the fight in the second in a light heavyweight fight. Enzo has insisted his future is at 175 lbs, so it is something of a risk that he is taking on a fighter tonight who began his career as a fully fledged heavyweight.

26 year old Shane McPhilbin (8-2, 5 KOs) turned pro in 2009, and after just three fights (two wins, one loss) entered the 2010 heavyweight Prizefighter competition, losing in the semifinals to Matt Skelton.

After three more fights at heavyweight, McPhilbin dropped down to cruiser and fought unbeaten Rhys Davies for the Midlands Area title, winning on a third round TKO in a good fight. Earlier this year McPhilbin got the call to fill in for the injured Tony Conquest and fight Leon Williams for the British cruiserweight title at just three weeks notice.

The fight looked to be a mismatch, as Williams put McPhilbin down in the first round, and then proceeded to outbox him, flooring him again in the sixth. By the final round, Williams was a mile ahead on points (one judge had given him all eleven rounds) but his exertions were clearly showing.

McPhilbin launched one final do-or-die assault, flooring Williams twice and then pounding him on the ropes for a dramatic stoppage win. As Jane Couch would later describe it, it was pure ''Rocky'' stuff.

McPhilbin displayed the heart of a warrior against Williams, plus good stamina and late power. He does hit hard, particularly with the right hand, but his boxing skills are average at best and his footwork is leaden.

If he were to explode a right hand on Maccarinelli's jaw tonight it could get interesting, but the truth is McPhilbin's porous defence looks tailor-made for the Welshman, and I think he will be in trouble from the opening bell. I see McPhilbin hitting the deck in the first round, and just hanging on until the bell. The second will see him down again before he is felled by a crushing body shot for the full count.

Maccarinelli by KO in two rounds.

Big Fight Odds: Enzo Maccarinelli 1/20, Shane McPhilbin 8/1 bet365
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Enzo Maccarinelli v Shane McPhilbin British Cruiserweight Title Fight Preview

Big Enzo steps back up to cruiserweight to face hard punching champ McPhilbin

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