Belfast Telegraph

Team effort brought the title: Magee

By David Kelly

In this era of of so many fighters turning against those who made them, of which Amir Khan is the latest after splitting from Frank Warren, Brian Magee knew as he reflected in his dressing room it had been “an amazing team effort”.

The European super-middleweight belt was wrapped around his waist after the performance of his career on Saturday night, stopping Dane Mads Larsen at the NRG Arena in Aarhus at the start of the seventh round.

Larsen had been floored twice in the fifth, twice in the sixth and then crumbled again just after the bell for round seven, leading to the referee calling a halt. Never before had we seen Magee bring such intensity to the ring or throw such mean rib rattling blows.

Co-managers Pat Magee and John Rooney, head coach Bernardo Checa and assistant Alex Doherty celebrated long into the night with the 34-year-old champion and with good cause as their perseverance with a fighter who feared himself he may not reach such a height had paid off.

If 2009 had been his annus horribilis, then 2010 could turn out to be one to remember for all the right reasons.

Magee transformed his career before 5,000 partisan Danes, emulating Ray Close who won the same belt in Italy back in 1993 against Vincenzo Nardiello. From being frozen out on the domestic scene after vacating his British title due to injury, he's on track for a World title fight.

Magee said: “The strength and conditioning work with Alex, the technical work with Bernardo and all the work done by Pat and JR in the background all came together. It was a great team effort.

“I knew that at this stage of my career how important this fight was. I was fighting for my life, my livelihood in there against Larsen.

“I've gone from one extreme to the other. People are saying that it's the best I've boxed but it's all a bit of a blur. The whole of last year was a nightmare for me and now I'm at the other end of the spectrum, winning the European title.

“I knew that I was as strong as an ox and I just had to trust in Bernardo's experience and he had to trust in me to do what he asked me to. I just carried out what he said, even little things in the dressing room before the fight when he told me to take it easy

“I've had nine or 10 good weeks with Bernardo but there is a lot more to come. He knows he has a lot more to work on with me.”

Manager Pat Magee, who along with John Rooney, deserves credit for securing the fight, said: “Brian has never shown so much aggression before. He may have been hesitant in the past but not now. Inside he was really hurting Larsen. Every punch was having an effect.

“You have to give Bernardo a lot of credit. He told all that he had to do, he said the key to the fight would be the body shots and that's how it worked out.

“Now I see Brian being ranked around number five in the World ratings and I would hope that after one or two voluntary defences he would fight for a World title.

“Two of the champions are based in Europe, the WBA champion Dimitri Sartison and the WBO champion Robert Stieglitz and I'm sure we can do business with them and we would be prepared to go to Canada to fight the IBF champion Lucien Bute.

“I've already had calls from British promoters wanting to do business with Brian. He has opened up a whole new world for himself. He's never boxed as well in his life. He's a different man now.”

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