By Terence Dooley
Local boy Matthew Macklin (153¼lbs) has recently relocated to light-middleweight, returning to his former division for the first time in almost a decade when meeting Tividale’s Jason Welborn (153¼lbs) in a scheduled 10 rounder for the vacant WBC International title.
Welborn went for it early, striving to prove that his opponent had made a mistake by boiling himself down so late in the 33-year-old’s career and reddening the former three-time world challenger’s face.
Macklin was returning to the division for the first time since 2006’s war with Jamie Moore, who won via 10th-round KO and was ringside tonight.
Tonight’s fight became an attritional affair early, so it boiled down to Welborn’s burgeoning ambition and Macklin’s desire to march towards another world title shot.
Welborn twice strayed low in round five, referee Victor Loughlin deducted a point for the first one and issued a stern warning after the second, leaving him on thin ice for the rest of the contest.
Macklin returned the favour in the seventh, legally and hurtfully hammering home shots to his opponent’s midriff in a bid to break his serve and draw a line under the contest.
Welborn was as accurate as a drunken sailor when throwing his flurries—one or two would land, but he smothered his own work in search of a follow up shot. Despite this, Macklin was unable to shift his opponent; he had to dredge up a performance to ensure that he kept himself a step ahead.
He did just that, running out a 96-94, 96-94 and 97-93 winner on all three scorecards to move to 34-6 (22). Welborn drops to 17-4 (6), but won the crowd over with his gutty display.
“I was working on a few things, sitting on the ropes to counter, and sometimes it worked lovely sometimes it didn’t,” said Macklin when speaking to Sky Sports.
“A lot of them were gliding off me, I was coming back with one-twos and landing them clean.”
He added: “When you’re going through a period of change, you’re not always going to nail it. That’s what happens when you try new things. Now’s not the time to assess, I’ll have to watch it (the fight) back myself.”
Birmingham’s Gamal “The Best” Yafai (121½lbs) had to work hard for his money at his hometown’s Barclaycard Arena. The 24-year-old fought Tanzania’s Nasibu Ramadhani (117¼lbs) in a 10-round eliminator for the Commonwealth Super bantamweight title on the Eddie Hearn-promoted bill and was taken right to the final bell by the spirited visitor.
Yafai has done eight and six rounds, he has now added 10 to his ledger and learned a few lessons en route to his 99-91 win on referee Terry O’Connor’s scorecard.
Ramadhani was deducted a point in the eighth round, so was up against it on the cards despite some nice work in the middle rounds. The 23-year-old moves to 8-0 (3), his opponent falls to 18-8-1 (9 early).
Please send news and views to @Terryboxing.