Macklin excited about fighting in Ireland

Middleweight contender Matthew Macklin, an Irishman who lives in England, has not fought in Ireland since he outpointed Rafael Sosa Pintos at National Stadium in Dublin in December 2009. Now the time is right for the three-time world title challenger to return.

Macklin will headline a card there on Aug. 30 in his first fight since agreeing to a co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn.

Hearn, who will co-promote Macklin with Lou DiBella, Macklin’s longtime promoter, made the announcement on Wednesday.

Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs), 32, doesn’t have an opponent yet. He is coming off a strong performance in a unanimous decision win against then-unbeaten Lamar Russ in December. Macklin’s next fight was supposed to be against former titleholder Daniel Geale on HBO on May 24, but when the Bryant Jennings-Mike Perez heavyweight main event was postponed, Macklin’s fight was called off because Geale got a better opportunity (a title fight with Gennady Golovkin on July 27).

That understandably upset Macklin, who instead has a chance to go back to the United Kingdom.

“It’s been four years since I last boxed in the U.K. and five since I boxed in Ireland, so I am really looking forward to boxing this side of the Atlantic again,” Macklin said. “The National Stadium has always been a great traditional venue for Irish boxing, and I think the atmosphere on August 30 will be electric.”

Hearn said he has been looking to promote in Dublin but needed the right fighter to appear in the main event. He believes he has the guy in Macklin, who lost a controversial decision in a title fight to Felix Sturm in 2011 but suffered knockout losses in title bouts against Sergio Martinez (2012) and Golovkin (2013).

“Matthew is a proven world-level fighter on the verge of another world title shot, and I am delighted to also be working with our American partner Lou DiBella on making that happen,” Hearn said. “Fans in Dublin can expect a corker of a card with Olympic super heavyweight king [Anthony] Joshua fighting in the city for the first time as a pro and an all-Irish grudge match between [middleweights] Spike O’Sullivan and Anthony Fitzgerald.”

DiBella said he will take the lead on Macklin's fights in the United States, while Hearn will handle the promotions for Macklin in Europe.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with Eddie,” DiBella said. “This was a deal that made sense for everybody.”