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El Maachi Shocks Junior Witter To Win Prizefighter Final

By Alexey Sukachev

York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, England - In one of the most ridiculous and bizarre three-rounders in recent memory, 31-year-old Yassine El Maachi (17-4, 4 KOs) outclowned and then outboxed former WBC 140-pound champion Junior Witter (39-5-2, 22 KOs), 37, to get his biggest victory to date with a three round majority decision to win the Prizefighter tournament. Referee was Mark Green. Marcus McDonnell saw it a draw 29-29, but both John Keane and Victor Loughlin found no better recipient of the big prize than the Moroccan expatriate. BoxingScene agreed with the oficial scorers and gave it to El Maachi with the same score 29-28, who erased some doubts after his dubious win in the semifinal (BScene had it 29-28 - for Colin Lynes at the time).

Both fighters were more about showboating than actually fighting. However, El Maachi proved to be a younger and a finer clone of the fading British impersonification of awkwardness. The Moroccan found some fire power to floor Witter in the first after a cracking riht hand and a left hand behind the ear, though it wasn't ruled as a knockdown. In round two, Witter came back and had some mild success but midst into the third he was fooled and tricked by El Maachi and went through the ropes and down between computers. He was immediately back to the ring but a perception was spoilt. Both fighters went toe-to-toe at the end of the fight, and El Maachi was once again a bit more successful with his punches, landing several on them flush on Witter's chin.

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Tricky Moroccan southpaw Yassine El Maachi (16-4, 4 KOs) was lucky to become the second finalist of the ongoing Prizefighter after a slightly controversial split decision over former multi-titlist Colin Lynes, who drops down to 35-9, with 12 KOs. El Maachi was his usual flashy self trying huge single bombs and clingching on the inside. Lynes chose more othodox approach bringing the fight to the Moroccan. The first round, however, was slightly in El Maachi's favour, who landed more telling blows. Lynes did better in the second while working as an aggressor. Both fighters did their best to take the decisive stanza, and a common perception was that Lynes was just a notch better by being more consistent. This perception wasn't shared by a majority of jusges though. Only Mark Green had it 30-28 - for Colin Lynes, but he was outscored by John Keane and Marcus McDonnell, who both had it 29-28 - for El Maachi.

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He didn't clearly impress the crowd but Junior Witter (39-4-2, 22 KOs) did what he used to do against slow and rusty Kevin McIntyre (29-8, 9 KOs) and that is beating him to the punch with his tricky but no-that-inspiring style. Witter toyed with the shaky Scotsman in the first before putting him down with a picture-perfect combination of the left hand to the head followed by a punishing right to the spleen. McIntyre got himself up but was overmatched in the first. He did better in the second, but Hitter Witter was the finer practitioner of them two once again and wisely clinched whenever the Scotsman got too close to him. Finally, willing Kevin landed several telling blows on the reluctant opponent in the third but it surely wasn't enough to get him a decision. Scores were 29-27 (twice officially plus once from BoxingScene) and 30-27 - for the first finalist in Junior Witter.

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London-based southpaw Moroccan Yassine El Maachi (15-4, 4 KOs) looked like the newest incarnation of Prince Naseem Hamed with his wicked ground-air left uppercut, sudden feints and extensive showboating. It didn't prevent him from getting a comfortable decision over tough-as-nails "Connemara Kid" Peter McDonagh (16-21, 2 KOs). The durable journeyman from Ireland gave his all but his toughness couldn't match El Maachi's elusiveness and agility. McDonagh, who pressed forward behind a tight guard, was hit mercilessly in the first and was badly hurt with a wicked left hook to the body in the second. El Maachi tried to stop his game foe but used too many dirty trick to get the job done,w hich allowed referee to give McDonagh several much needed moments to clear his head. Round three was rather even as McDonagh was able to land some shots of his own, especially his right uppercut. It didn't matter much at the end, as all three judges preferred Yassine's cockiness: 30-27 and 29-28 (twice). BoxingScene scored it 30-28 - for El Maachi.

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Colin Lynes (35-8, 12 KOs) slightly revived his career after a convincing win over previously undefeated Bobby Gladman (7-1-1) in the third quarterfinal. Former BBBofC British, European and IBO world light welterweight champion took his less-insiring counterpart to school from the very beginning. Lynes easily avoided leaning and viscous punches of Gladman and repeatedly connected with hard right hands. Gladman was rocked in the midst of the first, was slightly wobbled in the second and was lucky not to go down in the third stanza. He didn't win any rounds though even to pretend to be a victor. All possible scorecards (official and BoxingScene's as well) read as a three-round sweep-out in favour of still sharp Lynes - 30-27. Not a surprise though as Gladman managed to get only a draw in his last fight against 14-77 opponent.

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Junior Witter (38-4-2, 22 KOs), the most decorated fighter of the bunch, easily got through the second quarterfinal with a dominant three-round unanimous decision over little-known Nathan Graham (11-3, 5 KOs). Witter took the first round to feel out his opponent and started his usual clowning in the second. The former WBC champion willingly switched his stances from orthodox to southpaw and back to orthodox, fooled inexperienced Graham with sharp and unexpected jabs, bobbed and weaved under slow fire and didn't let Nathan to catch him with anything serious. Junior also didn't do much but he was successful with his stinging blows when he intended to land them on slower and less technically sound opponent. In the third, Witter clowned too much but took an edge during the last minute of the round. Official scores were 29-28 and 30-28 (twice) - for Junior Witter. BoxingScene had it 30-27 - also for the former champ.

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In the first quarterfinal, Scottish Kevin McIntyre (29-7, 9 KOs), coming back after a year-long hiatus, proved his technical superiority over relative novice John Wayne Hibbert (7-1, 4 KOs). Fragile but experienced former British titleholder (2007-2008) used his straight left hands to frustrate his pressuring opponent in the first couple of rounds to get a much needed advantage ovrt Hibbert. John Wayne came back vigorously in the last stanza but it was too little (to win a round) and too late (to get himself back on track), as McIntyre landed sharp and crisp uppercuts to keep Hibbert mostly at bay. At the end all three judges saw it unanimously 29-28 - for the Scottsman. BoxingScene had it one point wider with 30-28. John Keane was a referee.

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One of the most entertaining Prizefighters in its short history has just kicked off at famous York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, England. Promoted, as always, by Barry Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, this Prizefighter features top British welterweights, including domestic and European champions and no other than former WBC junior welterweight titleholder Junior Witter as its favorite. Local spectators and worldwide TV audience will also see former British welterweight beltholder Kevin McIntyre, former national and European 140lb titlist Colin Lynes, tough journeymen Yassine El Maachi and Peter McDonagh, undefeated prospects Bobby Gladman and John Wayne Hibbert and also Nathan Graham. The format is usual - fighters compete in play-off mode with contest, lasting three three-minute rounds.

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Tags: Junior Witter image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Thickear on 06-08-2011

Junior Witter, like Audley Harrison, would make very interesting material for psychiatric research.

Comment by Uncle Rodge on 06-07-2011

Not shocked at all.

Comment by TheKza on 06-07-2011

Witter went through the ring ropes, LOL. Not as good as Cintron but 9 for effort.

Comment by Camp Beast on 06-07-2011

Damn Witter fell off since the Bradley loss!!! It's always sad seeing a former champion fade.

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (4)
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