Macklin marches on


Boxing:As preparation for first title defence’s go, Matthew Macklin could not have asked for more against Uruguayan Rafa Sosa Pintos at the National Stadium last night.

The fans may have wanted a knockout but the Birmingham-born Irishman, who is set defend his European title against Russia’s mandatory challenger Dmitry Pirog in February, will be happy with the 10-round workout that saw him floor his opponent three times.

A body shot sent Pintos to the canvas for the first time towards the end of the second round and he was down again at the start of the fifth as the Macklin continued to dominate.

The Irishman kept working on his opponent’s body and forced another count in the ninth but Pintos got back to his feet to finish out the tenth.

The 99-88 win brought Macklin’s record to 26 wins and two losses and notched his third convincing win victory of the year.

Crucially, it brought that elusive bout against American Kelly Pavlik that little bit closer, though Pirog remains the more pressing matter at the moment.