It’s no exaggeration to say that if Enzo Maccarinelli (38-6, 30KO) pulls it off in Rostock on Saturday and dethrones WBA world light-heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (42-2, 31KO) then he will become a Welsh boxing legend.

Image by Evie Williams.

The Bonymaen banger will already be immortalised in Welsh boxing history for his WBO world title cruiserweight run which ended in 2008. That reign made Enzo one of only 11 Welshmen to win a world title, however, now he’s on the edge of reaching records no other Welsh boxer in history has met. There is yet to be a Welshman who has regained a world title after losing one and seldom few have had the opportunity to do so. The only Welshman who had the chance recently was Cardiff’s Barry Jones who lost his super-featherweight title outside of the ring and it wasn’t to be when he returned three years later to face Brazilian monster Acelino Freitas. Another piece of history Enzo can achieve is to become the first two weight Welsh world champion. Technically, nobody from our principality has won official world titles in different weights. It’s worth noting that Joe Calzaghe collected The Ring magazine’s unofficial world title when he moved from super-middleweight to light-heavyweight but it’s not a WBC, WBA, WBO or IBF title. Anyway, I’m sure Enzo won’t share the same mindset but regardless of the result on Saturday, he has already won. Despite being on the brink of history, it almost feels like there’s no pressure on Enzo. Turning around a career in tatters to compete for a world title is something that the massive majority never thought would happen… not to mention ‘Big Mac’ has dropped down a weight division gap worth 25lbs. There was no real shame in getting caught cold against Lee Swaby or losing a world title unification to David Haye but a series of stoppage losses to Ola Afolabi and Denis Lebedev left him looking like a shadow of his usual self. A European title win looked like Enzo was back on track but to this day, the knockout Enzo suffered in a title defence four years ago in Birmingham against Alexander Frenkel is the worst I’ve ever seen and I suspect I’ll still say that statement in years to come. Even a badly broken jaw couldn’t stop Enzo coming back and 14 months later, he returned and eventually faced Shane McPhilbin. It was horrible to watch. Decked twice early, Enzo looked a lifetime away from his peak and winning the British title didn’t paper over any cracks. It sounds insulting but it’s true to say that during Enzo’s world title reign, it’s unlikely that Shane McPhilbin would have even been a sparring partner. By this time, everyone was encouraging Enzo to retire. At the time, I thought he should’ve retired too, I remember Enzo friends and fellow BoxNation commentators John Rawling and Steve Lillis almost begging him to hand up the gloves. Doubts were almost mandatory amongst observers and Enzo will probably admit that he must have doubted himself at times too. Amongst all this, Enzo lost his dad, Mario – a colossus of a man who did as much for boxing in Swansea as anyone else has. During this time, Enzo’s son Romeo was diagnosed with autism and he suffered a six month ban for accidentally consuming a banned drug product.Everything that could go wrong outside of the ring, did. Just as he seemed to turn a corner, it went wrong in the ring too. Enzo’s heart had never been in question, his ding dongs with Bruce Scott and Wayne Braithwaite during his world title reign proved that but he did hold an unfortunate reputation for being ‘chinny’. Enzo was the victim of the ‘chinny’ label and on the wrong end of a disgracefully premature stoppage to Ovill McKenzie. Enough was enough by this point, Enzo’s luck couldn’t get any worse. There’s a saying that states, “setbacks paves the way for comebacks” and Enzo’s hurtful hard work has proved that right. Outside of the ring, Enzo has made the important moves required to progress. He has grown in to the light-heavyweight division and linked up with Gary Lockett whose rational and reasonable relationship with Enzo is something he may have been missing since parting with Penarth’s Charlie Pearson all of those years ago. The rematch with McKenzie got Enzo’s momentum going again, then he flattened the crafty Courtney Fry and here we are. Enzo has worked himself on to the edge of Welsh history. In his way stands Juergen Braehmer, a tidy southpaw with a decent dig and clever footwork. However, the German fades father than a Ferrari down the stretch and Enzo’s left hook to the body will help him get there faster. The rise, fall and resurrection has been a roller-coaster and if there’s one man who won’t back down, it’s our own Enzo Mac. Dewi Powell BoxingWales Editor
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