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Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Sunday, 15 March 2009

Warren's warning to Maccarinelli

Enzo Maccarinelli
Enzo Maccarinelli suffered the third defeat of his career

Frank Warren concedes Enzo Maccarinelli faces an uphill battle to save his boxing career following his ninth-round knockout by the unknown Ola Afolabi.

And Maccarinelli's promoter Warren suggested that the Welsh cruiserweight was ill-prepared for his WBO interim title shot in Manchester on Saturday.

"He said he didn't have one round of sparring, I don't know what he was doing in there," said Warren.

But trainer Enzo Calzaghe said: "He did as much sparring as he has before."

Maccarinelli said after his third professional defeat he is to consider his boxing future - and Warren agrees he should.

"He has to consider his future, he has a lot to think about," said Warren.

"He has told me he didn't have one round of sparring before the fight and I find that amazing preparation or lack of preparation - for a fight. I'm stunned by it."

Former WBO champion Maccarinelli was hoping to continue his rehabilitation following his unification defeat to David Haye at the O2 Arena 12 months ago, where the Swansea showman lost his WBO crown.

But Afolabi spoilt his plans for unification world domination to claim the interim WBO cruiserweight belt, taken his record to 14 wins from 17 professional fights with his shock success at the MEN Arena.

And Maccarinelli, who had been knocked down earlier in the fight, conceded afterwards: "I trained hard, was nice and fresh but I think my lack of sparring told.

"Take nothing away from Afolabi, I took him too lightly and I got beat."

But Calzaghe said: "Joe Calzaghe never sparred - and he was a world champion for 11 years.

"And all the sparring in the world cannot change the fact that Enzo has not fought for 12 months apart from some Mickey Mouse fight with Matthew Ellis at heavyweight. Why hasn't he boxed for 12 months?

"Enzo didn't have a tape of the guy until fight night so we didn't see who we were up against until two hours before the fight.

"A fighter should know who he is up against six weeks before the fight."

The 28-year-old, a member of Calzaghe's renowned Newbridge gym, insisted he had been the "consummate professional" before the Afolabi bout after admitting to BBC Sport that he 'took things for granted' before his demolition by Haye.

Maccarinelli's third professional knock-out leaves his boxing career hanging in the balance after being beaten by an explosive shot in the ninth round.

And Warren admits: "It will be tough for him to come back but if he wants to he can."

London-born Afolabi, who has Nigerian parents but is now a naturalised American, started brightly as Maccarinelli looked rusty.

Maccarinelli's punches carried more venom early on but Afolabi was landing more cleanly and more regularly.

A right towards the end of the third seemed to have the Welsh favourite in trouble but he held on for the bell.

The fifth was arguably Maccarinelli's most successful round as a left to the body and then a three-shot combination seemed to have an impact on Afolabi.

And a left hook to the head wobbled Afolabi in the sixth as he retreated into his shell.

Despite his questionable pedigree and punching power Afolabi punished Maccarinelli's casual defence in the ninth in the most emphatic style, when a huge overhand right came from nowhere to floor the Welshman.

He scrambled his senses and wobbled to his feet but referee Terry O'Connor stopped the fight one minute 50 seconds into the ninth round.

see also
Cleverly leaves Calzaghe stable
05 Sep 08 |  Boxing
Maccarinelli stops Ellis in two
06 Dec 08 |  Boxing
Awesome Haye stops Maccarinelli
09 Mar 08 |  Boxing
The Enzo Maccarinelli record
30 May 03 |  Boxing

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