Thursday, September 24, 2009

British Scene: Matthew Macklin vs Amin Asikainen Preview

Dave Oakes previews tomorrow night's match-up between Matthew Macklin and Amin Asikainen for the vacant European middleweight title.

Photo © Justin McKie

Matthew Macklin (pictured after his recent victory over Wayne Elcock) makes the step up to European level this Friday when he faces former champion Amin Asikainen for the vacant European middleweight title at the Manchester Velodrome.

This will be Macklin’s first fight since his impressive three round demolition job of Wayne Elcock earlier this year. That victory was the best of Macklin’s career to date; he stalked Elcock from the first bell, working his way cleverly into range before unloading heavy punches that seemed to shake Elcock every time they landed.

Macklin has been accused of rushing his boxing in the past but that night he seemed to be using a calmer and more controlled method of aggression than he had done previously. Hopefully that’s going to be the style he sticks with for this fight, he doesn’t want to engage in a war with Asikainen as the big Fin is heavy handed enough to hurt Macklin.

Asikainen’s punch power is definitely his main attribute but he’s also a good technician. He keeps his chin tucked down, likes to box behind the jab and waits patiently for openings before committing himself to an attack. The only flaw in his makeup is that he tends to fall apart when he’s going through a difficult period in a fight.

The only two defeats on Asikainen’s record came by stoppage, against Sebastian Sylvester and Khoren Gevor respectively. He was doing okay early in the fight against Sylvester, a fighter he’d previously beaten, but seemed to fall apart when Sylvester started to land some heavy shots of his own. The same goes for the Gevor fight, he capitulated as soon as Gevor began getting his own way. It’s a worrying trend that I feel will show again in this fight.

Macklin has also got two defeats on his record, a debatable points defeat against Andrew Facey and the brutal ‘fight of the year’ knockout defeat to Jamie Moore. Macklin showed incredible courage in the Moore fight and I believe his will to win is far greater than Asikainen’s.

Macklin’s career has been a slow burner up to now, one in which he’s repeatedly changed trainers and promoters. I’ve always sensed that Macklin was trying to find somewhere he felt comfortable. With any luck the new deal he recently signed with his big mate Ricky Hatton will put an end to his flitting between promotional outfits. He needs stability at this stage of his career, at 27, he's just coming into his prime and needs to concentrate fully on his boxing if he wants to achieve his dream of winning a world title.

As a side note, this will be Hatton Promotions first televised card of an eight show deal they recently agreed with Sky. It’s a big night for the new boys on the promoting scene in Britain; it should be interesting to see how they evolve over the next few years.

I think this will be a great fight for Macklin to progress his career with, he’ll have to be careful in the early rounds but I can see him outboxing Asikainen whilst steadily increasing the tempo on his way to a stoppage victory somewhere in the last four rounds.

A packed undercard features prospects Joe Murray, Denton Vassell, Scott Quigg and Rhys Roberts.

e-mail Dave Oakes