Middleweight contender Matthew Macklin has had three shots at a world title and has come up empty. Now he has a chance to land a fourth opportunity.
Macklin will face Jorge Sebastien Heiland in a world title eliminator on Aug. 30 in the main event of a card at the National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced Monday.
The winner of the bout will move a step closer to a mandatory shot at newly crowned 160-pound world champion Miguel Cotto, who stopped Sergio Martinez in the 10th round to win the title on June 7 in New York.
"It's great to have an eliminator to put me straight back in the frame for another world title fight," Macklin said. "I'm sure [Heiland] will be coming to Ireland with his own world title ambitions. It's a must-win fight for me, and it doesn't matter what he brings to the ring on Aug. 30, he won't be beating me."
Macklin, 32, an Irishman from England, was the victim of a highly controversial split decision loss when he challenged Felix Sturm for his world title in 2011. In his next fight, Macklin dropped Martinez in the seventh round but was ultimately stopped in the 11th round of his second world title opportunity. In June 2013, Macklin challenged Gennady Golovkin and was knocked out by a brutal body shot in the third round.
Macklin rebounded in December to outpoint previously undefeated Lamar Russ. A fight with former titlist Daniel Geale had been scheduled for May 24 in Corpus Christi, Texas, but when the heavyweight main event between Bryant Jennings and Mike Perez was postponed, Macklin-Geale was called off and Geale took a fight against Golovkin that is scheduled for Saturday in New York.
That left Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs) to seek another path. He and promoter Lou DiBella worked out a co-promotional deal with Hearn, who was happy to bring Macklin back to Ireland. Macklin has not fought in his home country since 2009.
"For the last few years now all my fights have been in the U.S., and while it's been great having big fights in New York and Las Vegas, I've definitely missed fighting at home," Macklin said. "There's a huge appetite among boxing fans to see big-time boxing back in Dublin, and there's no atmosphere in the world like an Irish fight night. I know that Eddie can deliver the big fights for me in Dublin, so it's a very exciting time for me."
Heiland (23-4-2, 11 KOs), 27, of Argentina, has never faced a notable opponent but has won two fights in a row.
Also on the card, England's Anthony Joshua (7-0, 7 KOs), the 2012 Olympic super heavyweight medalist, will face Yaroslav Zavorotnyi (16-7, 14 KOs) of Ukraine, who went the 10-round distance in a lopsided loss to British prospect David Price in June, in an eight-round bout. Additionally, junior bantamweight prospect Kal Yafai (11-0, 8 KOs) of England will defend his Commonwealth title against Luke Wilton (16-4-1, 7 KOs) of Northern Ireland.
"I can't wait for our first show in Dublin. The fans are in for a real treat," Hearn said. "It's a stacked card with Matthew in a hugely important fight that puts him in a great position to challenge for another world title.
"We've seen Matthew denied of what I believe was a victory in Germany against Sturm and a great performance against Sergio Martinez. The Cotto fight would be a great event. He is straight back in at the deep end against Heiland, but let's be honest -- he wouldn't want it any other way."