Former Australian junior lightweight champion Kye MacKenzie (16-1, 14 KO) stopped undefeated Dylan Emery (17-1, 10 KO) to win the vacant Australian junior welterweight title on the NRL charity fight night.
Both men went to work early with Emery attempting to crowd MacKenzie and land solid body shots to slow him down while MacKenzie looked for space to use his superior hand speed and score with combinations. MacKenzie took the first round with combinations although Emery had small success closing the distance and scoring to the body. Round two was fought at a higher pace with MacKenzie again doing the better work against the New Zealand born Emery. A clash of heads at the end of the round opened a cut on the corner of MacKenzie’s left eye. The blood was stopped between rounds but Emery had greater success in the third round. The fight was fought more in the phone booth although “Mr Frenzy” still scored with combinations.
The end came suddenly in the fourth when MacKenzie caught Emery coming in with a right uppercut and swarmed punches with both hands. Referee John Cauchi correctly called a knockdown as Emery fell headfirst into the ropes, which was the only thing holding him up. Emery took the eight count but MacKenzie again landed with both hands and again sent Emery reeling into the ropes and the referee halted the contest at 1:50 of the fourth round.
This is a big statement for MacKenzie, who has been largely inactive since losing an IBO world title fight to Jack Asis last year, coming up two weight classes above his normal weight division to win the Australian title. After the fight MacKenzie’s trainer called out Billy Dib, suggesting that MacKenzie will return to junior lightweight where Dib has fought his last few contests in the division including a stoppage loss to then WBC champion Takashi Miura.