News February 2012

El Maachi : Brook and Rhodes both know I'll knock them out


Exclusive intervew By @JohnEvans_79

El Maachi wins Prizefighter

Yassine El Maachi is quickly developing a reputation as the most avoided man in British boxing. The 17-4 (5) Moroccan born fighter is far from an overnight success, having had his first professional fight in Holland as long ago as 2001 and patrolling the British beat since 2007.

The 32 year old is a polarising figure with many finding his showman persona and hands down, elusive way of fighting frustrating. That awkward style and an improving record ensure that El Maachi is unlikely to ever be considered as a voluntary fight for any of the higher profile domestic light middle or welterweights but - during an exclusive chat with Ė he makes it clear that it isnít for a lack of effort on his part.

LF: You had a few early bouts in Belgium and Holland. Holland is mainly known for kickboxing. Did you ever dabble or were you always set on continuing the boxing career you started in Morocco?

I took kickboxing as fun and I was doing it since I was young, about eight years old. I became Moroccan champion in 1998 with six fights, winning five by knock out.

LF: Where did your style come from? Was there anybody you grew up imitating or did it just come naturally to fight that way?

I used to watch Prince Naseem Hamed and Roy Jones Jr. My style came from there. In my area in Morocco you had to be strong to protect yourself. As I had five brothers, thatís why I liked boxing.

Anybody looking at your record will see a poor start to your career in Britain followed by an impressive turnaround. There are some good names like Denton Vassell, the late Brett Flournoy and Thomas McDonagh amongst those early opponents. Do you feel you were moved too quickly?

I fought these guys with two days notice and I beat them. Vassell I dropped in the first round and beat for four rounds and they gave it to him [the decision]. I was happy for him when he got the title. Flournoy I beat for four rounds and the referee Steve [Gray] stopped the fight and told me that I was too tired to continue. McDonagh? He didn't touch me once in my face and the referee picked his hand up at the end of six rounds. When I asked the referee why he robbed me twice, referee Steve says ďI don't like your styleĒ. In my eyes I am still undefeated.

LF: Did you ever consider quitting the sport after those setbacks or fear you may become an 'opponent'? Did you always maintain your self belief?

I stopped boxing from 2004 till 2007 because nobody wanted to look after me or give me a chance to fight. Then I got Frank Maloney saying he will get me fights if I am good to fight. When he saw me beating his boys, he stepped back,

LF: Did beating Kevin Concepcion (then an unbeaten 13-0 prospect) in 2008 turn things around for you?

I knew that I could beat him. I even bet all of my purse with Frank Maloney to double it or lose it and Maloney doubled my purse.

LF: Did it give you that extra confidence boost?

Yes it gave a lot of confidence to fight against a 13-0 fighter without a trainer by my side.

LF: You successfully came through a strong Prizefighter field, beating Colin Lynes and Junior Witter to take the title. At the time did you feel that it could be your chance to really break through?

Yes, I had a feeling that in 2011 I would get to the top but since Prizefighter I haven't been active.

LF: Prizefighter can propel its winners onto major title shots. Why do you feel it hasn't been the case with yourself?

Because I am not British. Soon I will be able to fight for British and European title.

Writers note; El Maachi will be eligible to apply for a British passport in 2013.

LF: I recently saw a discussion you had with David Coldwell on Twitter where he criticised you for calling out the bigger names in the division, saying you haven't earned the right to do that yet. How frustrating are you finding things at the moment?

Well Dave Coldwell doesn't like me as I used to call out Ryan Rhodes and now I am calling out Kell Brook. They know that I will beat them or knock them out and it is frustrating for me as I want to prove to the fans that I am the best but promoters don't want to know who the best is.

LF: Do you feel you're gonna have to force a big name into the ring? If so, how do you plan to go about it?

I did it so many times but havenít had a chance yet. Iíd like to fight the best at welterweight or light middleweight. ĎCaneloí Alvarez is the one I am willing to beat.

LF: What is your plan for 2012?

Iíve got my promoter Steve Goodwin - who got me into Prizefighter and the International Masters light middleweight title - willing to bring a big name from America to fight me on the 14th April.

LF: Will you eventually settle at welterweight or go back up at light middle?

I will fight at any weight. Even middleweight if there is a good fighter out there.

The light middleweight division is strong and getting a lot of attention at the moment. There may be more opportunities at 154lbs but what do you make of your rivals at 147lbs?

My weight is 150lbs. To lose three pounds is not a problem for me but Iíd love to stay at light middle as I feel good and I donít have to stop eating for two or three days.

LF: What do you make of the upcoming Kell Brook v Matthew Hatton fight?

This fight for Brook will be a test for him, Hatton doesn't have to prove nothing because he can take a shot. The fight is 50-50.

Yassine El Maachi winning Prizefighter:


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