Bitter Birmingham rivals Wayne Elcock and Matthew Macklin mightn’t agree on much but one thing they can agree on is that a sparring session when they were both in the early stages of their pro career will have no bearing on their British Middleweight title fight at the Aston Arena on March 14.
The two men clash live on ITV4 on a Hennessy Sports show that’s being billed as “The Battle of Brum” in one of the most hotly anticipated domestic dust ups for years.
It’s a must win fight for both men and the duo believe that a sparring session in a Birmingham gym some years ago will have little impact on their tactics for the fight.
Champion Elcock said, “We turned pro around the same time and obviously I always kept an eye on Matt as being a fellow Birmingham lad I wanted to see him do well. We came across each other quite frequently at fights and in gyms, but actually only sparred together once.”
“It never struck me during the spar that we might actually fight one day as Matt was only a light middleweight back then and we were pals then so there was no real edge to it. I didn’t feel like I had anything to prove in there because I never thought we’d end up fighting each other down the line. Sparring is always totally different to fighting anyway so you can never take too much out of it.”
Their previous encounter doesn’t hold any special memories for Macklin either. “I was just a novice pro back then and still very raw but nothing sticks out in my memory about it. It was just a routine spar but obviously it’s going to be a lot different on March 14th. It’s a massive fight for Birmingham and the interest in it has been huge.”
Macklin has linked up with new trainer Joe Gallagher ahead of the fight, his fourth trainer in his last five fights, but Elcock insists he’s more than happy with long term trainer and one time Macklin mentor, Paddy Lynch
“Matt’s had a measure of success by changing trainers through the years so maybe that’s what works for him,” said Elcock. “I’m not one for skipping gyms, I like to stick with one guy, that’s what I’m most comfortable with.
“For Matt’s last fight he was working with Richie Woodhall and he told me himself that it was the best he’d ever felt. Then the next thing I heard was that he was leaving Richie’s gym for another gym, but each to their own.”
Elcock is confident that regardless of who is in Macklin’s corner the outcome will remain the same. “I’ll be doing what I do best which is to stick to my boxing but I’m very strong and I think that will surprise Matt. Howard Eastman found that out to his cost and if Macklin wants to drag me into trenches than that’s fine as well. As long as I’m focused and switched on there’s no way he’ll beat me.”
An exciting undercard at the Aston Arena, Birmingham on March 14 features heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury while in the chief support bout Adnan Amar defends his English Welterweight title against Tom Glover.
Also in action is Eddie O’Rourke, Chris Male, Quinton Hillocks and Callum Archer. Tickets are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via www.ticketline.co.uk.