25 September 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Matthew Macklin claimed the European middleweight title with a devastating first-round stoppage win over Amin Asikainen in Manchester on Friday night.
The 27-year-old Macklin, who also holds the British and Irish straps, floored his Finnish opponent with a perfectly-executed left hook just under two minutes into the opening stanza.
Asikainen, himself a former European champion with just two previous defeats on his record, stumbled back to the canvas as he tried to rise to his feet.
Referee Luigi Muratore could have easily stopped the fight there and then but he allowed Asikainen to continue. He was merely postponing the inevitable, though.
A punch drunk Asikainen did his utmost to tie Macklin up for the next 30 seconds in a desperate attempt to give himself time to clear his head.
However, Macklin eventually connected with a straight right hand and that sent Asikainen tumbling back into his corner and on to the deck.
Again he rose but this time Muratore decided he was in no fit state to continue, prompting wild celebrations in Macklins corner.
Just one fight after claiming the British title with a stunning third-round stoppage of Wayne Elcock, Macklin was now the European champion and undoubtedly within touching distance of his long-coveted world title shot.