Matthew Macklin admitted he was devastated to finish up on the wrong side of a tight split decision in his world title shot against WBA middleweight holder Felix Sturm.
But, following his narrow loss in Cologne, Germany, the Irishman revealed Sturm (36-2-1, 15 knockouts) has already promised him a rematch later this year.
Two of the judges scored the bout 116-112 in the German's favor, with the other giving it to the challenger 115-113 .
“He has said he will give me a rematch in November. He knows I beat him. Do you think he would give me a re-match if he thought he beat me? ” said 29-year-old Macklin, who fights out of Birmingham, England. “He’s given me a rematch because he’s embarrassed. German TV had me wining by four rounds. That’s why he’s given me a re-match.”
“I am gutted. In my mind there is no doubt I won. I started a bit quick, hurt him a few times and probably got a bit too excited. I wasted some big shots on his arms and elbows. But I was winning rounds big. It wasn’t until the tenth that he had a clear round. But there weren’t many he won clearly. Even in the rounds that were close, I was doing all the work.
“It’s a bit disappointing that German TV had me winning by four, American TV had me winning and Sky had it level. I won the fight whatever anyone says.”
In truth, the relentless Macklin, having enjoyed the better start, did not have it all his own way against Sturm, who was making his 10th defense. However, the two 116-112 scorecards, which ensured the home favorite retained his crown, did seem wide of the mark.
Certainly, Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs) viewed it that way.
“I don’t care about them. No chance. No way. I won it by at least three or four rounds. I thought I strolled the first six or seven rounds,” he said after his winning streak came to an end at 11.
“He probably had two clear rounds — and you could have given him a couple more — but I could have been given them as well. Some were touch and go, but I was still winning them on work rate. He never hurt me. I winded him three times and I hurt him four or five times.”
Despite the setback and the likelihood that any return meeting would take place on German soil, a notoriously tough place to dethrone champions, Macklin has vowed revenge.
“Next time, I will smash him to pieces.,” he said. “Respect to Felix, I don‘t want to sound bad, but next time they won‘t be able to rob me. No chance.”