TRUE to his word, Matt Garlett came to fight and as a result, he left the ring bloodied and beaten as he became the latest fighter to fall short against big-punching super featherweight prospect Kye MacKenzie.
MacKenzie, 22, dominated the exchanges en route to an entertaining seventh round stoppage, remaining unbeaten while putting the rest of the super featherweight division on notice.
There was already animosity in the air from the weigh-in, where promoter Rob Fogarty and MacKenzie’s trainer Lincoln Hudson had to separate the pair to avoid a pre-fight scuffle. This continued on the night as MacKenzie surprisingly entered the ring first and was made to wait several minutes before Garlett finally made his way to the ring.
Garlett, 29, was greeted by a chorus of boos and MacKenzie briefly had words with the challenger shortly before proceedings kicked off.
MacKenzie (now 11-0, 9 KOs) opened up Garlett (11-3, 6 KOs) almost immediately, but it was not without Garlett having success of his own. MacKenzie stormed forward, looking to impose his will on his West Australian based challenger – who swung mightily with his lunging right hand – which appeared to temporarily stun MacKenzie once in the opening stanza.
A cut and some swelling began to develop near the right eye of MacKenzie, which only got worse as the fight progressed and the formerly world-rated Garlett targeted it with sublime precision.
While Garlett was competitive in each of the early rounds, it appeared very early on that if the two wound up in a slugfest, it would prove beneficial in long run for the clearly bigger and physically stronger MacKenzie.
Despite boxing entirely on the back foot, Garlett did have his moments, landing some stiff lead jabs and occasional right hands that caught MacKenzie’s attention, and while he may have bruised parts of MacKenzie’s face, it was clear that he was behind and clearly tiring as the second half of the fight approached.
Garlett was courageous in defeat and in the end, he was ultimately outclassed and out powered in an admirable attempt to score a huge upset over the highly touted MacKenzie.
The fight reached it’s conclusion in the seventh, when a tiring Garlett was beginning to stagger across the ring from some stinging body shots and in particular – thudding left hooks from MacKenzie – who relentlessly pursued a knockdown.
After flooring Garlett with what appeared to be an uppercut on the inside, referee Les Fear wisely called the contest when Garlett was unable to defend himself from the follow up barrage that ensued.
With the win, MacKenzie appears to have almost cleaned out the domestic pool of talent in the super featherweight division. While talk of potential fights against the returning Corey McConnell and Sydney-based Filipino Ronald Pontillas begin to circulate, it remains to be seen who will be willing to take on the Australian super featherweight titlist next.
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz