“I want a big fight with someone ranked above me, say like Takaloo or even British Champion Jamie Moore, because I'd like to prove myself the best in Britain before going on to really crash the American scene.”-Irish middleweight champion Matthew Macklin plans big things under the guidance of Billy Graham.
Macklin Set For First Fight in U.S.
Red-hot British light middleweight prospect Matthew Macklin will make his American debut tomorrow night on the Golden Boy Promotions card at Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel. The Birmingham man hopes to be included on the HBO Latino broadcast of the night's events, headlined by the welterweight contest between Larry Mosley and Alexis Division. Regardless of the media coverage Macklin actually gets for his bout with chinny banger Leo Laudat, the twenty-three-year-old and his trainer, the legendary Billy Graham, are bursting at the seams at this fantastic opportunity in Atlantic City. The pair spoke to SaddoBoxing in an exclusive interview that illuminates the potential many believe that Macklin, who jumped up a weight class in his last bout to become the Irish middleweight champion, holds and will realize in the near future.
On a daily basis Matthew Macklin, 13-1 (9), rubs shoulders with some of the best fighters in Britain today. The Midlander lives in Manchester while preparing for fights and works out of Billy Graham's renowned Phoenix Camp gym in nearby Denton, England. Among Macklin's stable-mates are Ricky and Matthew Hatton, Michael Gomez, Paul Smith, Steven Bell and Patrick Maxwell, all matriculating under the watchful eyes of Graham and strength coach/master nutritionalist Kerry Kayes.
Former fighter Graham, who has also trained a laundry list of World, European, Commonwealth and British champions such as Michael Brodie, Carl Thompson and Andy Holligan, has quite a nose for talent and is full of praise for his Brummie light middleweight as he prepares to face a hard punching journeyman. "Matthew is young and he's still learning but at the same time he's a good fighter," said the trainer. "He can really rip to the body because he's as strong as a bull and gets this tremendous leverage coming up from his legs, a lot like Ricky Hatton does. I take Matthew on the body belt for twelve rounds and he hits very hard, so believe me, I know.
"Matthew's opponent for Thursday is a bit of a mystery for us. We don't know much about Leo Laudat but every fight that he's won, it's been by a knockout, so he can obviously punch. He's been stopped a few times himself so maybe he's not so good at taking punches. I prefer my fighters to face taller opponents anyway and I hope that with his high knockout percentage that Laudat will want to slug with Matthew. That would suit us down to the ground."
Leo "The Lion" Laudat, 7-8 (7), is a six-foot-tall, two-fisted banger from Roswell, Georgia. The twenty-seven-year-old started his career in a shambles, going 1-5 in his first six bouts but has improved since that time, posting a 6-3 mark over a bit more than the last two years. The best known opponents of Laudat's have been potential Macklin rival John Duddy, who stopped the Georgian in one in November of 2003 and Vinroy Barrett, a 10-0 prospect whom Laudat stopped in four rounds in just his third bout.
With the help of former heavyweight world champion Tim Witherspoon's manager Tom Moran, Macklin has been sparring in Philadelphia area gyms, such as the famous Shuler's where he worked with undefeated USBA super middleweight belt-holder Yusef Mack. The experience has deepened the Englishman's pool of skills and he can't wait to show an American audience just what he can do. "I've been over before but this will be my first time fighting in America," said a pumped Macklin. "I love it here but I'm especially looking forward to boxing in Atlantic City. All I really know about my opponent is that he's tall, can punch a bit so I'll have to respect his power, but he has been stopped a few times himself. I like fighting taller guys and it's a fight I should win but to me it's a dangerous one and a real hiding to nothing."
Assuming for a moment that everything goes to plan for Macklin, he has two more appearances scheduled in the States for later this year. As much as that pleases the hard- hitting stable-mate of Ricky Hatton, it's on English soil where he really wants to make his mark. "I'd really like to step up to the next level in Britain," said the determined Birmingham native. "I know that I've still got a lot to learn but I feel that I can step in with anyone at light middle back home and beat them. I want a big fight with someone ranked above me, say like Takaloo or even British Champion Jamie Moore, because I'd like to prove myself the best in Britain before going on to really crash the American scene."
SaddoBoxing.com would like to thank Matthew Macklin, Billy Graham and Tom Moran for making this article possible.
Contact Curtis McCormick at email@example.com