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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 22:16 GMT 23:16 UK
Maccarinelli retains world title
Enzo Maccarinelli unleashes a right hand against Wayne Braithwaite
Maccarinelli (right) delivered a superb display for his fans
Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli retained his WBO cruiserweight title with a bruising but unanimous points victory over Wayne Braithwaite in Cardiff.

With 38 knockouts on the records of the two fighters, an early finish was anticipated between two big punchers.

But the Swansea man, making the third defence of his title, adopted a patient approach in a mature performance.

He floored the ex-WBC champion in the fifth round and finished well ahead on all three judges' scorecards.

The 119-108, 118-109 and 120-107 verdicts were testimony to Maccarinelli's dominance, a couple of final-round scares apart.

He took some tremendous body shots that would have crippled most people

Enzo Maccarinelli
The 26-year-old, who took his record to 27 wins from 28 fights, with 20 KOs, imposed himself well in the early stages, working his jab effectively.

Urged on by fellow Welsh world champion Joe Calzaghe, sitting at ringside, he connected with a couple of clubbing left hands in the second round and unloaded a barrage of blows in the third, wobbling Braithwaite.

But the New York-based Guyanese fighter, nicknamed "Big Truck" for his own punching power, retained his composure despite finding himself out-boxed.

Enzo Maccarinelli sends Wayne Braithwaite to the canvas in the fifth
Braithwaite hits the canvas
The 31-year-old struggled to land any effective blows of his own, and Maccarinelli worked his man well on the inside during the fifth.

He had already landed two good shots when Braithwaite advanced, only to be caught flush on the chin by Maccarinelli's counter off the ropes, a great follow-up left hand sending Braithwaite to the canvas.

Maccarinelli's intensity appeared to drop a touch in the seventh but he still ended it on a high, sending Braithwaite's gum-shield flying into the crowd with a stinging upper-cut.

Another good one followed in the eighth before a sustained attack in the next left Braithwaite bleeding from his mouth.

606: DEBATE
megawelshhammer
The challenger, who had won 22 of his 24 previous fights, 18 by knockout, enjoyed his best round in the 10th to retain a glimmer of hope.

Maccarinelli was forced to take two good left hands from Braithwaite in the final round, and a right hand over the top also shook the Welshman, but he kept things tight thereafter to seal a deserved success.

"It was a tough match-up against a WBC world champion, and he is one of the top fighters in the world," Maccarinelli said afterwards.

"He took some great shots; I dominated behind my jab. I neglected the right hand a bit, but I hurt it early on and it was painful every time I threw it.

"But my jab kept him at bay. I showed I could take a shot on the chin, I showed I can box, and I have great stamina. It was a good performance.

"He took some tremendous body shots that would have crippled most people."

Victory could now set up a potential clash with IBF champion Steve Cunningham on 3 November, on the undercard of Calzaghe's date with Mikkel Kessler at the Millennium Stadium.

SEE ALSO
Arthur expects to beat Georgian
20 Jul 07 |  Boxing
The Enzo Maccarinelli record
30 May 03 |  Boxing
BBC Sport Wales coverage
24 Dec 06 |  Wales


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