News October 2007

15.10.07 Hatton inspires Macklin ahead of Irish clash

By Robin Marshall

BIRMINGHAM'S Matthew Macklin has revealed he is hungry to get his own taste of the big time after being swept along by the Ricky Hatton factor.

Macklin has been preparing for next Saturday's clash with Italian Alessio Furlan in Dublin by once again training alongside Hatton in their Manchester gym.

With Hatton in training for his multi-million pound showdown against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on December 8, Macklin said: "The gym is really buzzing at the moment.

"Ricky is already in great shape. It's such a big fight for him and you learn so much just from even being around Ricky in the build up to fights like this.

"The level Ricky's on right now is the level all fighters aspire to. Seeing how he is handling all the hype and publicity is a great experience."

Middleweight Macklin will again have Hatton in his corner at the National Stadium in Dublin but he is also guaranteed huge support in the crowd as it is going to be a real family affair as both sides of his family descend on the Irish capital.

Macklin, who is gunning for a shot at Birmingham's British champion Wayne Elcock, has revealed that he was a star in Ireland well before he laced on his boxing gloves as he was a champion hurler.

He said: "I think most people know by now about my connections to Tipperary, as my Mum comes from there, and my love of Tipp hurling.

"But I also have strong connections to Roscommon because my Dad's family are from there and there are a lot from that side of the family travelling to Dublin to support me as well."

Despite his Birmingham upbringing Macklin represented Tipperary at all underage levels up to and including the Under-21's at hurling.

He added: "As a kid I spent almost all my summers in Tipperary.

"I've always loved hurling. I grew up playing with the Tipperary hurler Eoin Kelly and to this day we're good friends.

"Unfortunately when the boxing began to become more serious the hurling had to take a back seat but I suppose there are times on the hurling pitch when being able to box is no bad thing!"

Meanwhile, Dudley's Darren McDermott has issued a defiant "don't forget about me" warning as he bids to secure a shot at the British middleweight title.

New champion Elcock is not planning to put his title on the line against McDermott unless he is ordered to by the British Boxing Board of Control.

Elcock reckons an all-Birmingham showdown with Macklin or a European title fight against Sebastian Sylvester are better options.

But McDermott is gunning for a showdown and aims to boost his title credentials when he fights at Wolver-hampton Civic Hall on October 25 and hopes to be named as the mandatory challenger by the Board of Control.

McDermott was ringside in Coventry last month to see Elcock outpoint Howard Eastman.

He said: "Wayne Elcock did exceptionally well. I thought he was going to burn himself out but credit to Elcock he kept going against a very experienced opponent.

"Now I hope that I will be next to meet Wayne Elcock. It will generate a good fight and a good show in the Midlands."

McDermott's title hopes rest in the hands of the Board as Elcock said: "I am not really too fussy about that fight to be honest. McDermott is not on my priority list."

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