Boxing: Macklin ready for brutal fight

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The Independent Online

Matt Macklin was due to fight in front of 12,000 people at Madison Square Garden in New York tonight but instead will challenge for the British title in front of 1,200 people in Manchester.

Last year Macklin, 24, was attracting considerable attention in America and was to be part of tonight's Irish extravaganza at Madison Square Garden featuring John Duddy, an Irish-born fighter. Duddy and Macklin are moving towards a showdown and tonight in New York the rivalry was to continue but the chance to fight for the British title altered the plan.

Tonight at the George Carnall Leisure Centre, in Manchester, Macklin will challenge the local fighter Jamie Moore for the light middleweight title in what is likely to be a leading contender for the British fight of the year. It is also likely to be an extremely hard fight.

"This fight is exactly what British boxing needs at the moment to remind people that there are some cracking domestic fights to be made," said Billy Graham, who trains Macklin.

Moore, 27, will be having his seventh British title fight and all have been memorable for some reason - not all of them positive. In the Manchester area Moore has a cult following and when tickets for the fight went on sale the 1,200 sold out inside two hours and Macklin, who is from Birmingham, was left with just 49 after requesting 1,400.

Macklin has lost just once in 18 fights but has had an easy year with four simple wins and that is not ideal preparation for an obviously brutal encounter against a fighter like Moore. If Macklin wins - and it will be extremely difficult - he will have finally fulfilled the potential he showed as a teenage amateur.