Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro – London
Francis and George Warren may be new to the boxing promotions business, but no one can deny they have hit the ground running. Their first show produced a ‘Fight of the Year’ front runner, when Liam Walsh successfully defended his Commonwealth title in a proper barnstorming battle royale with Paul Appleby. Their second event see new star signing, cruiserweight Leon ‘Solid’ Williams, wrestle the Lonsdale belt from long time champ Rob Norton’s iron grip.
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For their third event, at York Hall in Bethnal Green on Friday, November 18 and live on BoxNation (Sky platform channel 456), Francis and George have another major battle headlining, as former WBU and WBO cruiserweight world champion Enzo Maccarinelli makes his welcome return to the ring… as a light heavyweight.
Big Mac’s opponent on Friday will be unbeaten Gyorgy Marosi. This will be no easy fight for Maccarinelli, as Marosi is a tough battler who has stopped eight of his twelve opponents and is the reigning Hungarian super middleweight champion. This guy is a fast-starting, big hitter as he has stopped six opponents in two rounds or less, one in the third and one in the fifth. His biggest scalp to date is Arnold Turos, who was 14-1 with six knockouts when he faced Marosi, who stopped him in the first round.
Now Maccarinelli is another thing altogether… I’m a big fan of the cruiserweight division and he was a two time world champion. As a cruiser, Maccarinelli overcame an early career loss to Lee Swaby in only his fourth contest, to build up an impressive record before becoming one of the biggest names on the world scene.
With ten excellent wins (seven inside the distance) under his belt since the loss to Swaby, the Welshman challenged for the vacant WBU world title against the seriously tough Bruce ‘Lionheart’ Scott. Maccarinelli overcome a first round knockdown to stop the durable Scott in the fourth and lift the coveted crown.
Maccarinelli successfully defended his belt seven times, with only two going the full distance. His first, against Andrei Karsten in September 2003, lasted just one minute and ten seconds. His second
victim opponent, Earl Morais, fared just a little better, having lasted until the one minute thirty second mark before being knocked out.
In February 2004, Garry Delaney visited the canvas no less than seven times before referee Dave Parris decided to call a halt to the proceedings after two minutes and thirty seven seconds of the eighth round. Five months later, Ismail Abdoul achieved something no one else had during Maccarinelli’s reign to that point – he went the distance. Saying that, he was totally outclassed by the Swansea man, who had out-pointed the Belgium by a 120-108 and 119-109 (twice) margin.
Two further stoppage finishes followed, a third round knockout of Jesper Kristiansen in September 2004 and a fourth round stoppage of America’s Rich LaMontagne in January 2005. For his final defense of the WBU title, Maccarinelli faced and beat former British, Commonwealth and WBU world champion Mark Hobson in a thrilling encounter at the M.E.N. in Manchester in March 2006.
In his next bout, Maccarinelli challenged Marcelo Fabian Dominguez for the interim WBO title. In yet another thriller, Big Mac added another stoppage finish to his record, this time a ninth round TKO finish. Seven months after their first encounter Maccarinelli and Mark Hobson again went to war, this time for the full WBO World crown. Big Mac took no chances and dispatched Hobson after just one minute and eleven seconds of the first round.
In April 2007 American, Bobby Gunn crossed the Atlantic to try his luck against Swansea’s finest, without success as Big Mac stopped him after just two minutes and thirty five seconds of the first round. Three months later another American, Wayne Braithwaite, made the trip to see if he could do what Gunn couldn’t and take the belt away from Maccarinelli. He couldn’t either although he did manage to go the distance to become the only person that did during Big Mac’s reign as WBO champ.
In November 2007, Mohamed Azzaoui made the even longer flight, from New Zealand, but got sent back home after just fifty eight seconds of the fourth round. Then it was the big one, on the 8th March 2008 Maccarinelli and WBC/WBA world champion David Haye locked horns in a unification Battle Royale. The fierce battle lasted just over five minutes before the almighty Haye became the unified champ.
One non-championship bout followed before Maccarinelli was back on the championship trail, this time against American exiled Brit, Ola Afolabi for the interim WBO title. Maccarinelli’s fans could see their man easily cruising towards another title, when the unthinkable happened – Afolabi, who was way behind on points, was under big pressure and was backed up to the ropes, as Maccarinelli started to unload, Afolabi let rip with a sharp right and sent Big Mac down and out.
Maccarinelli brushed himself down and in his very next fight challenged Denis Lebedev for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental belt. Big Mac’s luck had run out as after just two minutes and twenty seconds of the third round referee Terry O’Connor called a halt to the proceedings to save Maccarinelli suffering another knockout.
Two further non-championship bouts followed, neither opponent were to go the distance, before Maccarinelli challenged Alexander Kotlobay for the vacant European crown. The Mac was back, having dispatched Kotlobay in just two minutes and fifteen seconds of the first round. Unfortunately Maccranelli’s reign came to an abrupt halt, after being dropped twice heavily in the seventh round, by challenger Alexander Frenkel in September 2009.
Maccarinelli decided to switch to the light heavyweight division earlier this year and, on Friday, will make his first outing at this new weight. Word is he is stronger at the lower weight so even though Bonfire night was just over a week ago you can expect fireworks on Friday night.
Heading up the support is Tony Conquest versus Toks Owoh for the vacant Southern Area cruiserweight title. New British Champ Leon Williams is sure to be taking a lot of interest in this fight as it’s rumoured that the winner of this then gets to face him early in the new year. This will be former world #3 ranked super middleweight Owoh’s first shot at a Cruiserweight belt.
With just two wins under his belt since moving to the division, back in March, Owoh may find his much younger opponent too much to handle. Conquest is some 12 years Owoh’s junior and is unbeaten in seven outings. The leveler may be experience, Owoh has not only fought eighteen times more than Conquest but has also fought a championship bout previously, having fought and lost to American Glen Johnson for the IBF Inter-Continental super middleweight title.
The undercard features a plethora of local prospects, including the exciting young lightweight prospect Billy Morgan, who is coached by the legendary Jimmy Tibbs and his son Mark at the TRAD TKO gym in Canning Town, and Graham Earl’s unbeaten protege, heavyweight Tom Little.
Southampton’s unbeaten light welterweight Matty Tew makes his first trip to the famous York Hall, whilst Light Heavyweight Menay Edwards makes a much shorter trip from Crayford. Finally, and adding an international flavour to the proceedings, is Norwegian featherweight Andreas Evensen.
Some may remember former WBO Inter-Continental champion Evensen, as last year he crossed the North Sea to unsuccessfully challenge WBO world champ Ricky Burns for his super featherweight crown.
Francis and George Warren’s Queensberry promotion event, headlined by the Enzo Maccarinelli versus Gyorgy Marosi, takes place at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, and broadcast live on BoxNation (Sky Platform Ch. 456), on Friday, November 18 2011. Tickets, priced £60 (Ringside) and £40 (Standard Seated), are available now online at http://www.tkoboxoffice.com or from the TRAD TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA.
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