Paul Stevenson weighs up Enzo Maccarinelli V Courtney Fry
It is four years since Courtney Fry came up short in a challenge for Nathan Cleverly’s British and Commonwealth belts but, finally, the 38 year old has a second opportunity to claim the major professional title his talent deserves.
This Saturday night at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, Fry, 18-3 (6 KO’s), meet’s Enzo Maccarinelli for the Commonwealth light heavyweight title and the former Olympian’s trainer, Paul Stevenson, insists his man is more than ready to take his chance.
Fry’s last appearance came when he outpointed the promising Matty Clarkson over six rounds late last year. That night Fry not only demonstrated that his skills remain in tact but – maybe more importantly – he showed that he still had the desire to make an impact on the British scene. That desire has been sorely tested during the 14 months of inactivity that have followed the Clarkson fight but finally the Everton Red Triangle man’s patience has been rewarded.
“It’s a really good opportunity isn’t it?” Stevenson told Livefight. “We didn’t get much in the way of notice but when opportunities come you have to take them.
“It came right out of the blue. A couple of weeks ago we got the call and they gave us three weeks to prepare. Courtney had been ticking over and he’s never really out of the gym so he’s just cranked it up. He’s really looking in good shape. You’d have to say it’s against him when you look at recent form; he’s not boxed in twelve months and he only went past eight rounds once and got stopped by Cleverly.
“Maccarinelli has been active and he’s a good fighter. He’s a real champion and really hits hard. All that is true but we’ve been doing some good work with Courtney that we think he’ll be able to show in this fight. It won’t be easy but it’s definitely doable. It’s not impossible. It’s just about Courtney getting things right on the night.”
Maccarinelli, 37-6 (29 KO’s), presents a far more vulnerable target than he did in his prime but remains a tough proposition for his domestic rivals. Should Tony Bellew decide to leave the 175lb division behind following his world title defeat to Adonis Stevenson, the 33 year old will once again sit atop the British rankings.
The former WBO cruiserweight champion may have six stoppage defeats littering his record but it is worth remembering that David Haye, Ola Afolabi, Denis Lebedev and Alexander Frenkel hit the unfortunate Welshman with the type of punches that ensure he will forever play a starring role in their career highlight videos.
His shaky - yet victorious - performance when taking the British cruiserweight title from Shane McPhilbin and quick defeat to knockout artist Ovill McKenzie [however premature the stoppage was] led many to suggest the time had come for Maccarinelli to retire but, to his credit, he returned last September to outlast and knock out McKenzie in a gruelling rematch. He is unlikely to ever lose his power and, in Gary Lockett, he has a trainer who has his best interests at heart and leaves no stone unturned when preparing his fighters.
“They actually did a couple of rounds of sparring in preparation for that [second] McKenzie fight,” Stevenson reveals. “We’ve always had good relations with Gary Lockett and that camp because we’ve been down there with Nathan Brough sparring Gavin Rees. They’re a lovely outfit, really classy people and we’ve got a lot of time for them. Obviously though, we’re gonna be trying our best to win on the day!
“They’re big lads [at cruiserweight] and swing big bombs. He [Maccarinelli] was very aggressive and took chances and maybe he got caught with the odd shot but if anyone got hit with the same shots I believe they’d struggle. His chin isn’t part of our strategy.
“You could say he’s been hit on the chin in recent times and looked a bit wobbly but I think he’s got a good chin. Regardless of that though, Courtney’s not a known slammer so it’s not really an option for us to just in and try and blow him away in a round like it could be for someone like McKenzie.
“We’re under no illusions. He’s still a good fighter Maccarinelli. He’s strong, a vicious puncher and carries his power. He’s still ambitious too. I watched him in that last fight with Ovill McKenzie and he really had to dig in deep in those middle rounds and unless you’ve got real desire you can’t do that.
“Courtney’s got his work cut out for him but we have to do what we’ve been working on in the gym and he’s already in tip top shape. He’s gotta put it together on the night.”