19 May 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Matthew Macklin raised eyebrows amongst the German media yesterday when he came face to face with Felix Sturm at their press conference in Cologne ahead of their World title fight in the city on June 25th. Two time European Middleweight Champ Macklin made a big impression by addressing the assembled media in perfect German but he has promised that the charm offensive will be replaced with a far more aggressive offensive once he enters the ring at the 20,000 seater Lanxess Arena next month.
Having studied German in school for six years Macklin was happy to deliver a warning to Sturm in German to ensure that nothing was lost in translation. “I’m going to win, there is no doubt in my mind about that, said Macklin. “Felix is a great technician, he has been a great Champion and he has my utmost respect but this is my time and my strength and power will be decisive in winning the fight.”
The champion however says he will meet fire with fire and he has no intention of surrendering his WBA World title after almost a decade at the top of the middleweight division. “Matthew seems very confident but we will see what happens in the ring,”; mused Sturm. “I will bombard him from the first bell and we will see if he can cope with that.”
Despite his confidence the champion was willing to admit that Macklin presents a formidable challenge. “Macklin is an outstanding challenger. He is very experienced and he has that Irish warrior mentality. He has earned this chance and is one of the five best middleweights in the world. It will be a war but I will be ready for anything and I will do whatever it takes to keep my title.
“I have been training very hard but I am enjoying it. I am just over 6 pounds over the middleweight limit now so I am already in great shape. Once the fight is over I can forget about the diet and I am looking forward to a celebratory barbecue on the Sunday afternoon to celebrate with my friends and family.”
Sturm’s trainer Fritz Sdunek added, “We have a plan for anything can Macklin can present in the ring. We have watched him fight and he likes to put a lot of pressure on his opponents to try to tire them out. Felix has no problems coping with that kind of style and putting on a lot of pressure himself so I believe he will stop Macklin in the final third of the fight.”
The German media were intrigued by Macklin’s background in hurling which saw him represent Tipperary at underage level despite having grown up in Birmingham while the 29 year old also revealed that boxing legend, “Smokin” Joe Frazier had dropped in to trainer Joe Gallagher’s gym in Manchester to watch him training earlier this week.
“It was an honour to have someone like Joe Frazier casting an eye over my training,” said Macklin. “He gave me a few pointers and there was a great buzz in the gym while he was there. There’s just over 5 weeks left now and my preparations could not be going any better. I was already very excited about the fight and coming face to face with Felix has only made me more confident that I will be taking that belt home with me next month.”
Macklin’s manager Brian Peters revealed that arrangements have been put in place for the army of Macklin supporters expected to descend on Cologne for the fight. “There is a ticket and hotel package available for any fans travelling over to the fight,” said Peters. “There has already been huge interest from people looking to go and Cologne is great city and the arena itself is fantastic so it promises to be a tremendous night. Matthew is so grateful for all the support and it means an awful lot to him and I’m sure everyone can play their part in cheering Matthew on to the World title and another famous night for Irish sport.”