Enzo Maccarinelli has shot to fame over recent years due to some phenomenal displays of strength and ability in the ring. Only the ninth world champion to come out of Wales, he has become a local legend in his home town of Swansea. But despite many successful defences of his title, he recently lost for only the second time in his professional career, an upset that will see him keen to make a swift comeback and regain the title that was taken away from him.
Maccarinelli was born on August 20th, 1980 in Swansea, Wales.
It was his father who introduced him to boxing, having previously been a boxer in the Italian army. He was quite forceful in getting his son to take his training seriously, which Maccarinelli would often find frustrating, especially when his friends were out playing and he was stuck inside.
Training was tough, and the young Maccarinelli would even be denied his pocket money if he failed to take it seriously. However, he now claims that it provided him with a sense of discipline in his life which has helped him out immeasurably, and he has nothing but praise for his tough trainer.
When he was 14, Maccarinelli had a crisis of confidence. He found that he couldn’t get any fights, and became frustrated with the sport, rejecting his training and ballooning to 16 ½ stone. However, he soon realised that he was going down the wrong track, and forced himself to get back into the training routine.
With this new mindset, things began to look up. Out of his first fifty fights as an amateur, he only lost four of them, building up a record which would take him to the next level.
As soon as he went professional in October 1999, Maccarinelli began to impress. His first opponent, Paul Boson, was beaten in the fourth round, and further victories followed.
His string of success was only dented by a loss to Lee Swaby in front of his home crowd on 12th May, 2000. It was thought that his determination to put on a good show for his loyal supporters played a part in this loss, and he quickly vowed to get back to his winning ways.
On June 28th, 2003, Maccarinelli had built up enough experience for a shot at the WBU (World Boxing Union) cruiserweight title in a fight against the experienced Bruce Scott.
As a veteran of the sport, Scott taught Maccarinelli an early lesson by knocking him down to the canvas in the first round.
However, Maccarinelli was not prepared to lose again and he fought back in style, using a devastating left hook in the fourth round to knock his opponent out.
Although he knew that the prize was not the most sought-after of titles, he used it as a platform to announce himself to the world.
Defending the title
Over the next three years, Maccarinelli pulled off a string of victories in defence of the title.
First up was Andrei Kiarsten, who was quickly dispatched in the first few seconds with a devastating uppercut.
Next up was Earl Morais, but he too was unable to last a round, and left the fight in need of medical attention.
Other fighters followed, Rich LaMontagne and Mark Hobson among them, but none could manage a victory, and Maccarinelli was slowly building a name for himself as a real contender.
On July 8th, 2006, his moment came when he managed to get a shot at the WBO interim cruiserweight title. His opponent was the Argentinian, Marcelo Fabian Domínguez, and the winner would go on to challenge for the main prize.
He had recently changed trainers from Charlie Pearson to Enzo Calzaghe, father to Joe Calzaghe, and he was feeling as though he could go all the way.
The fight went on for nine gruelling rounds, but when Maccarinelli put an end to it with a powerful uppercut to Domínguez, he knew that he was only one fight away from getting the WBO title.
However, on September 22nd, 2006, Johnny Nelson withdrew from the match due to an injury, and soon after announced that he was retiring from the sport.
The title went to Maccarinelli without him having to raise a finger.
Proving his credentials
On October 14th, 2006 Maccarinelli had to show what he was made of by defending his title for the first time. He was up against old foe Mark Hobson, whom he had only narrowly beaten in March of that year.
It was billed to be a big, close fight. However, in the first round, and only 71 seconds into the match, Maccarinelli showed how much he had progressed by knocking his challenger out cold, staking his true claim to the title that he had gained so easily.
The next contender to the crown was Bobby Gunn, on April 7th, 2007, who was again expected to put up a good fight.
However, Maccarinelli was still fresh from his first defence the previous year. He came out in style, knocking Gunn out in the first round for the second time in a row.
Two other fighters followed, Wayne Braithwaite and Mohamed Azzaoui, and even though Braithwaite went to the 12th round, neither was able to get their hands on the title.
Maccarinelli looked unstoppable, and was surely on the way to bigger and better things. And then, on 8th March, 2008, he got a shot against fellow Brit, David Haye, in a world cruiserweight title unification fight.
Haye was the WBC/WBA champion, so there was a lot riding on the match. But with only one professional loss early in his career, Maccarinelli would go into the bout confident that he would not only defend his title, but even pick up a few more along the way.
The first round was indecisive, with neither fighter managing to prove his superiority in the ring.
However, in the second round, at 2 mins and 4 seconds into the match, Haye finished it all off with two big right hands.
Maccarinelli had lost his title, and his long string of success was over.
The loss was a real blow to Maccarinelli’s ambitions, and one that was hard to accept. However, despite this setback, he will be eagerly anticipating his next venture into the ring, where he can put the memory behind him and get back to his winning ways.