Macklin stops stubborn Italian in 8th round

Draped in the Black and Amber of Four Roads, Birmingham-born Matthew Macklin took a mighty leap forward in his quest for a European title on Saturday night last in the National Boxing Stadium in Dublin when his relentless bombardment of his stubborn opponent, Alession Furlan finally paid off in the 8th round as the referee David Irving stepped in to save the Italian from further unnecessary punishment.     Macklin, cheered on by the huge and vocal Roscommon contingent, was in complete control and never looked in trouble from the opening bell. The first five rounds were fought at a ferocious pace, as Matthew piled on the pressure with lightening fast left right combinations to the head and body, never giving his opponent a chance to strike back or even to compose himself.    In those early rounds it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Furlan would hit the deck, but amazingly he stayed on his feet and absorbed punch after punch – left, right, left, right to the head and lower rib cage.    A super tight defence may have saved him from the worst effects of Macklin’s power, but still many were getting through, including a powerful left to the face in the 4 th , which left the Italian Middleweight spouting blood from the nose, but still on his feet.    An uncharacteristic head swipe from Furlan drew blood from above Macklin’s left eye in the 6 th and the exchanges opened up somewhat as both boxers seemed to take a breather.    The seventh round continued in a similar vein with Furlan backing off and Macklin chasing, while nothing much was happening in terms of serious exchanges. But it proved to be the calm before the storm as Macklin came thundering out in the 8 th . Furlan had no place to hide and the left, right combinations came showering down on him.    The proud Italian had no intention of surrendering, but he was saved from a lot of unnecessary punishment as the referee stepped in.    Top of the bill, the Derry Destroyer John Duddy versus Manchester’s 19 year old Prince Arron was a total mismatch, so Macklin versus Furlan was the only real contest of the night.    It really was a super fight, the atmosphere was electric and Matthew Macklin, the promising Middleweight with a Four Roads father and a Tipperary mother, gained a lot of new fans on the night. Europe – one step away; then John Duddy for the big one!    ‘It went according to plan really’, Matthew told the Roscommon People after the fight. ‘He went 12 rounds with the European champion a couple of months ago and he went within 15 seconds of the end against Duddy last time out, so I’m really pleased to have stopped him.    ‘I knew he had a very good defence and he was tough, so I paced myself for ten rounds. I had a good first three rounds and then in the 4 th and 5 th I thought I might try to stop him, and I nearly did. Then I thought there was still 5 to go, so I took a breather in the 6 th and I had a second wind then in the 7 th and 8 th .’