Norwich’s Danny McIntosh gets European title fight in Paris

Norwich fighter Danny McIntosh will get the chance to become a European champion in France in January when a win could open a path to a world title challenge.

The 30-year-old reigning English light-heavyweight champion will take on Thierry Karl – four years his junior – on Saturday, January 22, for the vacant EBU title at the Palais des sports Marcel Cerdan.

McIntosh has lost just one of his 13 fights: a bruising encounter with Nathan Cleverly at Bethnal Green's York Hall 18 months ago, and a notable seventh round stoppage given the subsequent rise in stock of McIntosh's Welsh opponent since.

But an early knock-out of Havant's Tony Oakley and a third round stoppage of Zimbabwe veteran Hastings Rasani have ensured McIntosh got back on track – the former reuniting him with the English title last February.

'It's like a European Cup final,' said McIntosh's manager, John Ingle. 'Karl is a good kid, number 10 with the WBC in the world ratings and Danny is 13, so it's a top 15 fight and the winner of this could potentially be in line for a world title fight with Jean Pascal.

'It's an important fight because this could be the making of Danny Mac. If he wins this it's really going to push him into the big time.'

Karl has had nearly three times as many fights as McIntosh: 28 wins and 18 knock-outs from 32 bouts.

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The Frenchman – who hails from Lehaucourt, south of Lille – is a former national middleweight, super middleweight and current French light heavyweight champion.

His last fight, in December, saw him take a six rounder with Latvian youngster Arturs Kulikauskis on points; McIntosh's last fight came at the start of November.

But despite taking the fight at a little less than four weeks' notice, Ingle has no worries for the Norwich fighter, who trains with the Ingle family in Sheffield and had been preparing for the possibility of a British title bout with Tom Bellew.

'You do forget (McIntosh's age) – to me he looks like he's 25-26,' said Ingle.

'I mean he's not had all that many fights, but he boxed Howard Clarke in his second fight and Clarke had already boxed for the world title.

'He steadied himself down with Tony Oakley. Karl is a good kid and if Danny is going to go on to bigger things he's got to beat this kid – it's a great opportunity.'

Ingle added: 'If Karl was behind him in the ratings maybe it wouldn't have been worth the gamble, but to get into the top ten, it's worth the chance.

'I don't think Karl is any better than Cleverly, and with that one I reckon if Danny had slowed himself down, who knows.

'But this one is a real 50-50 fight.'