THE COUNTDOWN is on to the latest chapter in Hucknall and Bulwell’s own ‘Rocky’ story.
And the star of the show, Shane McPhilbin, has been outlining his strategy to pull off another major shock that would stun British boxing.
McPhilbin (26), who hails from Bulwell but regularly pounds the bags at the St George Amateur Club in Hucknall, has been British cruiserweight champion for less than two months.
However, he can’t wait for the first defence of his Lonsdale Belt when he tackles Welsh warrior Enzo Maccarinelli at Wolverhampton on Friday March 23.
The bookies give McPhilbin, nicknamed ‘Mr Block’, no chance. Maccarinelli, a former WORLD champion, who once fought David Haye, is long odds-on at 1/25 to win the bout.
And all experts seem to think that McPhilbin needs a repeat of his remarkable victory over Leon ‘Solid’ Williams in January when he got up off the canvas twice to conjure up a sensational last-round stoppage to snatch the title.
But in an interview with Livefight.com, the Bulwell hero proved he is not short of confidence for the fight.
“Enzo is a very good all-rounder,” said McPhilbin. “He can box and bang. But we have our game-plan all ready for him.
“Enzo is tall but that’s great for me. I’m used to fighting taller men. It’s one thing I’m really confident about.
“He likes to pin people on the ropes, letting his favourite shots go. But that suits me fine too. I know exactly what to do in those situations after years of experience.
“I’m not going to stand and outbox him to a points decision. I’m playing to my strengths — to punch, and punch hard!
“My best asset for the fight is my power. I’ve always carried a good dig.”
Maccarinelli (31) has won 34 of his 39 professional fights, including 27 knockouts, whereas McPhilbin has had only eight bouts since turning pro.
But the 6’4’’ Welshman is stepping up in weight after a brief spell at light-heavyweight, which included a fight only two weeks ago, while McPhilbin has spent most of his career as a heavyweight and even had three amateur contests against the current British champion Tyson Fury.
This could leave Maccarinelli vulnerable to a punch — as he was back in 2008 when Haye knocked him out in the second round before the Londoner switched to the heavyweight division.
Whatever happens on March 23, McPhilbin is clearly enjoying his new-found fame as the cruiserweight king. It’s a far cry from his very first fight back in 1996 at Carlton Forum when he was only ten years old.
“It’s been absolutely amazing,” he said. “I’m so proud that I’ve got a Lonsdale Belt. And my brothers, Daniel and Clinton, are both over the moon. They both live and breathe boxing.
“Boxing runs through the whole family. My late dad, Mick, ran a boxing club for a while and my cousin, Dale, was Carl Froch’s coach in his early years.”
The popular McPhilbin, who has been training harder for the Maccarinelli fight than any other in his career, is expected to have a sizeable following of about 200 fans at Wolverhampton.
For those of you who can’t make it, the fight is being shown live on BoxNation (Sky channel 456).