Maccarinelli suffers eighth stoppage loss and retirement seems likely

Maccarinelli suffers eighth stoppage loss and retirement seems likely

Last night, Swansea’s Enzo Maccarinelli (41-8, 33KO) suffered the eighth defeat of his 17-year professional career, which he has suggested is now over.

The former WBO world champion was stopped inside the first round against Ukraine’s Dmytro Kucher (24-1-1, 18KO) as he bid to become a two-time European champion.

The headline attraction of Frank Warren’s show at York Hall in East London was over before it began, leaving many viewers of BoxNation distraught for one of Welsh boxing’s most loved figures

Kucher entered the contest as a slight favourite, owning just two blemishes on his 25-fight record. The narrow decision loss against world title challenger Ilungu Makabu and draw with an unbeaten Bilal Laggoune both came on the road in Monaco and Belgium. However, Kucher has otherwise travelled well, winning on the six other occasions he’s ventured outside of Ukraine.

The vast amount of Kucher’s early nights have come in the first half of fights. In contrast to those fast starts, he’s not necessarily speedy and Maccarinelli did appear to be quicker to the punch. When at range, Maccarinelli’s height and reach allowed him to land with jabs in a closely contested beginning. If he was going to win, and there was a way to do it, surviving the first few exchanges and staying safe was key.

There was little to separate the pair in the opener and Maccarinelli can argue he was 30 seconds away from pipping it, before Kucher timed Maccarinelli’s approach perfectly. As the Welshman threw an uppercut followed by a wide left hook, Kucher countered with his own – an error of Maccarinelli’s ambition that has cost him before.

It stopped Maccarinelli in his tracks, the legs stiffened and it was evident. Just like in five of his seven other stoppage defeats, Maccarinelli isn’t blessed with a poker face and Kucher could tell. A three punch follow up attack ended with a left hook that sent Maccarinelli to the canvas. Unable to recover, Maccarinelli’s challenge was over as the referee simultaneously ended it as the corner waved the white towel.

Maccarinelli had won his three previous trips to East London’s iconic York Hall and scored a hat trick of stoppages against James Gilbert, Dave Clark and Gyorgy Marosi to go with it. They were all at a far lower level than Kucher though, who has surely improved his ninth placed ranking with the WBC and will progress up the ladder.

The compact venue usually captures the sound of the crowd and traps to create an intense atmosphere. However, it appeared relatively sparsely populated, which wouldn’t have been a bad thing for the fighters who were also competing against Britain’s wave of heat and humidity. As it happened, the fight didn’t last long enough for the heat to have an impact on proceedings.

Maccarinelli had reigned as European champion for one fight in 2010 when he fearlessly ventured to Russia to knockout Alexander Kotlobay. The quick-fire win was forgotten when he suffered an equally horrendous fate against Germany’s Alexander Frenkel in his next fight, reminiscent of earlier painful nights against world class operators like David Haye, Ola Afolabi and Dennis Lebedev.

There were calls for one of Welsh boxing’s favourites to retire then in 2010 but they were ignored and justifiably so as Maccarinelli entered more memories for the scrapbook. This time though, it may be the end and tweets from Maccarinelli suggested that’s the case. If he changes his mind then Gary Lockett, who has trained him for the last three and a half years, is a compassionate friend and always speaks sense.

Despite the risk of knockout losses, which combined with his bank of power have made Maccarinelli so exciting to watch, he’s still had a career many can only wish for. The Bonymaen banger is just one of four Welshmen to win British, Commonwealth, European and world titles. Other highlights also include winning at the Millennium Stadium, taking part in a world title unification and passing on his knowledge to the next generation as a coach.

If this is it… it’s been unforgettable, Enzo. Enjoy retirement and thank you very much for the memories.