Brave Macklin loses out to Sturm in classic
Matthew Macklin fell to a points defeat to WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm, despite a brave showing from the Birmingham born Irishman in Cologne.
Veteran Sturm, paced himself just enough to be awarded a split decision to retain his belt and dash the hopes of Macklin after an enthralling contest.
Macklin, who boasted a five-year, 11-fight unbeaten run going into this bout, started the more aggressive of the two and looked set to cause a major upset in the German's home town after coming out of the opening six rounds on top.
But Sturm, 32, expertly absorbed the punishment and gradually began to assert himself as the fight wore on.
Macklin's all action pace dropped after the eighth round as Sturm landed some quality shots before he ended the fight with a flourish, much to the delight of a packed arena.
Two judges scored the fight 116-12, 116-112 to Sturm, with one judge awarding it to Macklin 115-113.
In Sheffield, Kell Brook gave his home crowd what they wanted with a comfortable points victory over Lovemore N'Dou.
Victory for the Yorkshire welterweight extends his unbeaten record to 24 bouts but he was unable to continue his stretch of eight wins inside the distance against the Australia-based South African-born veteran.
Brook claimed the vacant WBA Inter-Continental belt with the win but will now turn his focus on the welterweight division's top prizes.