By Alexey Sukachev
Dublin, Ireland -- In a major upset, Transnational Boxing Rankings Board's #10 rated middleweight Matthew Macklin with a colossal right hook in round ten, which had the Irishman down and immediately down without a count. The fight was the WBC middleweight eliminator for the right to face reigning champion Miguel Cotto.
Macklin, whose best career moment came three years ago against long-time champion Felix Sturm in a fight that was controversially lost by Mack the Knife on a split decision, showed signs of decline in his latest two fights since a third-round blowout from the hands of Gennady Golovkin. Macklin looked vulnerable both against 14-0 prospect Lamar Russ and hardly known 12-4-1 Spaniard Jose Yebes, defeating the latter only by way of a majority decision.
Oppositely, Heiland was in good mood after recent stoppage wins over former victors Billy Godoi and Matteo Veron. El Gaucho de Pigue also shown some poise four years ago against then-champion Sebastian Zbik, losing a close decision with way-too-wide scores.
The beginning was Macklin's however, but in round two always aggressive, hard-pressing Heiland began to stalk the Irishman. Macklin fought in spurts, with his back against the ropes. Oppositely, Heiland was on the offensive, taking a fight to Macklin. When opened, Mack the Knife was consistent and placed punches well but his spurts got less and less frequent with each-fought rounds. After back-and-fourth rounds three and four, Heiland began to overcome Macklin's resistance, slowly breaking down his defenses. Matthew had his last glimpse of success in the eighth, but scores were 77-75 (thrice) - for Heiland - in conclusion of round eight (under the rules of the WBC open
The ninth stanza was one-sidedly Heiland's. He turned on heat also in round ten, finally cornering Macklin and sending him down with a left hand - right hook combo to the head in Klitschko-like style. Time of stoppage was 0:42. WBC #6 and WBA #10 Irishman is now 31-6, 20 KOs, with his career being in serious doubt. The WBC #4 Argentinean defended his WBC International title for the first time and is presently 25-4-2, 13 KOs.
Inexperienced, clumsy Jack Heath (3-8, 2 KOs) was no match to a former amateur star and 2012 London bantamweight silver medalist "Irish" John Joe Nevin (3-0, 2 KOs) who dropped him three times in just 1 minute and 23 seconds.
It took Gary "Spike" O'Sullivan just 75 seconds to completely destroy his bitter rival Anthony Fitzgerald in an all-Irish grudge match.
Fitzgerald talked smack during the pre-fight hype, O'Sullivan answered with a push when Fitzey has entered the ring. The bout was heated and short however. With his hands down, O'Sullivan played tricks with Fitzgerald, then started to deliver punishment, finally finding a room for a picturesque right uppercut that sent Fitzey down for a count. He was up at a count of nine but in no position to continue, as referee Mickey Vann waved it off.
Time of stoppage was 1:15 of the first round. O'Sullivan improves to 18-1, with 11 KOs. Fitzgerald is now less impressive at 16-7, 4 KOs.
Rapidly rising British super flyweight Khalid "Kal" Yafai (13-0, 9 KOs) added the first familiar name to his resume as he went through experienced Nicaraguan veteran Everth Briceno in a terribly one-sided twelve-rounder.
Briceno, 36, was fighting for the second time since a brief retirement and was barely competitive. His best moments came early on as the first couple of rounds was remotely even, with mild advantage of Yafai. Kal turned on heat in the third, continuously beating overmatched Briceno to the punch. After a calmer round four, Yafai exploded with a left hook to the body to drop Briceno in the fifth. To that moment, the Nicaraguan had been warned three time for low blows.
Referee Mickey Vann deducted a point from him in the next stanza for the very same sin.
Yafai continued to dominate after that. Two consecutive body shots decked Briceno at the end of the eighth so that he just barely continued on with fighting. He showed enormous will and character to survive till the final bell against a talented opponent, and a former amateur standout.
Final scores were: 120-104, 119-106 and 118-105 - all for Yafai, 25, who retained his IBF I/C super flyweight title for the first time. Briceno, a former two-time WBO super flyweight (2005 and 2010) world title challenger drops down to 35-10-2, 26 KOs.
WBO #4 British lightweight Anthony Crolla (29-4-2, 11 KOs) continued his recent successful streak with an easy points win over tough Hungarian journeyman Gyorgy Mizsei Jr. (20-12, 12 KOs). The sole score was 60-54 in his favour.
Crolla was calculatedly aggressive, cautious when needed and superior to his opponent, taking every round of a scheduled six-rounder. Mizsei Jr., just 21, is no slouch despite his mediocre record. This year he has scored an upset win over 25-1-2 Brunet Zamora and pushed reigning European champion Emiliano Marsili to his limits less than two months ago.