Hackney fighter claims Prizefighter title

Yassine El Maachi beats Junior Witter to claim title

Dalston’s Yassin El Maachi is the new Prizefighter welterweight champion after he beat former world champion Junior Witter by unanimous decision at York Hall on Tuesday night.

The Moroccan-born fighter beat Peter McDonagh, former British champion Colin Lynes in the semi-final before claiming victory over former WBC champion.

The 31-year received the trophy and the �32,000 winners cheque.

“It means a lot for me I been boxing for 25 years to win this trophy is a small dream for me,” he said.

“I was waiting for this chance for years and Matchroom give me chance. Thanks to Steve Goodwin my promoter also.

“I have got a lot of fans watching me and I thank them so much. I thank everyone coming here. I won the trophy and it doesn’t matter how. I was waiting for this chance for a long time.

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“Junior Witter everybody used to be the best in the world, but his time has finished. He has to say goodbye to boxing.”

El Maachi’s night began with a comfortable points victory over Peter McDonagh.

The Don Charles-trained fighter landed some powerful body shots which rocked his opponent, while McDonagh kept walking onto stinging lefts.

A left uppercut from El Maachi visibly shook his opponent who did well to stay on his feet and although the Hackney man could not finish the job inside the distance, he was still handed a unanimous decision with the judges scoring 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 in his favour.

The southpaw faced Whitechapel-born Colin Lynes in a semi-final which was a complete clash of styles.

Orthodox Lynes landed some telling jabs, while El Maachi struggled to find momentum and his range.

El Maachi struggled to string combinations together, swinging and missing the target often, but as the fight wore on Lynes also failed to find the target regularly in what was a scrappy affair with many thinking Hornchurch-based Lynes had done enough to take the verdict.

It was not the case as El Maachi claimed a split decision 29-28, 29-28, 28-30.

The final against Witter was hardly a classic, but this time there was no debate about the income.

Witter started strongly and rocked El Maachi with a powerful right just 30 seconds into the fight, but from then on El Maachi was in charge.

El Maachi stung his Yorkshire rival with a right which floored the former world champion, but the referee saw it as a slip.

Both fighters missed their target regularly, but a left hook to the body in the third clearly rattled Witter, before he went flying through the ropes, taking out a cameraman in the process.

It had little effect on the fight as the Hackney man claimed the title after being given a 29-28, 29-28, 29-29Majority decision.

“It was of course a big step to beat Junior Witter. I wanted to fight Witter because I knew I would beat him and I was worried someone would maybe beat him along the way, but he eased through his fights,” El Maachi said.

“I knew I would win the tournament because nobody there had the speed or reflexes that I have.”