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Enzo Maccarinelli vs. Dmytro Kucher tonight in London, UK

Enzo Maccarinelli

By Scott Gilfoid: Enzo Maccarinelli (41-7, 33 KOs) will be fighting tonight against Dmytro Kucher (23-1-1, 17 KOs) for the vacant EBU heavyweight title at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, UK. Maccarinelli needs a victory over #8 WBC Kucher to put himself in position for a potential title shot against WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew this year or in 2017.

The 33-year-old Bellew will be fighting in September, and he needs an opponent for a voluntary defense if the World Boxing Council grants him one. Maccarinelli, 35, is probably at the last chance saloon in this fight. He cannot afford to lose to Kucher if he wants to get another world title shot.

Maccarinelli lost his WBO cruiserweight title eight years ago to Davi Haye in 2008 by a 2nd round knockout. Maccarinelli was given a world title shot against WBA World light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer two years ago in May 2015 in a 5th round stoppage.

Maccarinelli has won his last three fights since then in beating Gyorgy Novak, Jiri Svacina and Roy Jones Jr.

“All he wants is another shot at the world title, and then he can retire,” Maccarinelli’s promoter Frank Warren said to “Enzo’s got a good boxing brain, good jab, and can punch, and if he catches Tony Bellew on the chin he won’t get up.”

Bellew will need permission from the WBC to take a voluntary defense in his next fight, because he’s got a mandatory defense due right now. Bellew beat #1 Ilunga Makabu for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title on May 29. Since it was a vacant belt, Bellew is supposed to be fighting the mandatory in his first defense.

Maccarinelli is going to have a tough time trying to beat the 33-year-old Kucher. This is a fighter with decent power and a good chin. Kucher stood up to Makabu’s big punching power for 12 rouns without getting knocked out in their fight three years ago in July 2013. Kucher lost the fight by a 12 round majority decision but it was close in the end. For Maccarinelli to have a chance of beating Kucher, he’ll need to be able to take a lot of heavy right hands from him. Since I haven’t known Maccarinelli to be able to take any heavy shots at all period in the last eight years, I can’t see him being able to do what he needs to in order to get the win.

Kucher has since won two out of his last three fights in the last two years. He beat Galen Brown and Bobby Thomas Jr. In Kucher’s last fight, he was held to a 12 round draw against unbeaten Bill Laggoune (19-0-2, 9 KOs). This is a good fighter, and Kucher was able to fight him to a draw. That shows you how good of a fighter that Kucher is.

Maccarinelli is going to have a really tough time trying to beat Kucher, and he might be making a mistake if he looks past him towards a title shot against Bellew this year in September.

“If he wins, he’s European champion. Normally the European champion goes straight into the top five (in the rankings). It’s two bangers, they both punch, it’d be a great fight while it lasted because I don’t see it going the distance,” said Warren.

Maccarinelli has proven himself incapable of beating the top guys in the last eight years of his career. It is hard to picture him being able to beat a top guy like Kucher given his track record.

Prediction: Kucher by 7th round stoppage over Maccarinelli. As much as I’d like to see Maccarinelli having a chance at winning this fight, I just don’t picture that happening. His chin will likely betray him. Once Kucher lands something big, I think we’ll see Maccarinelli staggered and near defenseless. Kucher will then jump on him and start pounding Maccarinelli at will until he collapses onto the canvas. The referee might jump in quick and stop the fight while Maccarinelli is taking punishment like we saw in Maccarinelli’s 2nd round stoppage loss to Ovill McKenzie in November 2012. Referee Ian John Lewis did the right thing by stepping in and stopping the beating in the 2nd round when McKenzie trapped Maccarinelli against the ropes and was giving him a royal thrashing.

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