EYE INJURY ENDS ENZO HISTORY BID

Enzo Maccarinelli’s (38-7, 30KO) bid to become Wales’ first ever two weight world champion was ended at the start of the sixth round of his challenge to WBA world light-heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (43-2, 32KO) last night in Germany. An accidental head clash in the final exchanges of the first round inflicted a horror injury to Maccarinelli’s right eye and despite courageously fighting for another four rounds, his eyesight was severely hampered and so were any chances of making history. Trainer Gary Lockett was finally forced to withdraw the 33-year-old as he sat on his stool after the fifth round. As Lockett unwrapped Maccarinelli’s gloves, he said, “I can’t let him go on, not with a face like that.” Lockett had previously told Maccarinelli that it would be his last round, win or lose, on three separate occasions – before the third, fourth and fifth stanzas. Italian referee Giuseppe Quartarone twice halted the action, once for Maccarinelli’s corner to wipe the eye and a second time for a doctor inspection which somehow ruled the Welshman fit to continue. Despite Braehmer also suffering an injury from the same incident, with a cut over his right eye, the referee incorrectly ruled that Maccarinelli’s injury was sustained by a punch. This meant that the result was a Technical Knockout and didn’t go to the judges scorecards but that had no bearing on who was the winner as Maccarinelli had lost every round, despite having his moments. Once Braehmer realised the severity of Maccarinelli’s injury, the 35-year-old took no risks for the next four rounds and selectively picked his shots to worsen the injury. The German was guilty of initiating several clinches, which went unpunished by the officials but he was attempting to shut down Maccarinelli’s dangerous power punches, knowing that it was only a matter of time before the injury ended the contest. The bout in Braehmer’s hometown of Rostock began steadily for Maccarinelli who settled at range behind solid straight shots but the eye injury ended any hopes of Maccarinelli boxing his way to a win, instead he was forced to look for a knockout. As Maccarinelli could no longer see Braehmer on his right side, he opted to allow Braehmer closer so Maccarinelli could throw at the same time, knowing his opponent was in range. Maccarinelli did have success and occasionally seemed to worry Braehmer but it wasn’t enough and only served as a reminder to the champion to box safely. It was Maccarinelli’s first world title contest since his WBO world cruiserweight title reign was ended in a 2008 unification with David Haye. The Swansea native suffered dramatically mixed fortunes since that night but Saturday marked a remarkable career turnaround which not many thought was possible. The future is unclear for Maccarinelli and while he’ll hope for a rematch, he’ll be realistic and know that a return is unlikely. Maccarinelli is unlikely to be motivated to drop down to domestic level again but he lives and breathes boxing, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him return at the end of the summer. There were initial fears that Maccarinelli had suffered a fractured eye socket but Gary Lockett confirmed on Twitter that it isn’t the case.  

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