Boxing


UK Boxing: Barker V McDermott; Prizefighter weigh-in and betting information

Dazzling” Darren Barker will aim to improve his already impressive CV at the Watford Colosseum on May 23rd when he makes the third defence of his Commonwealth Middleweight title against Darren McDermott. The Hennessy Sports event will be live on ITV4 providing fight fans with another opportunity to track the progress of one of British boxing’s most exciting talents..

Barker lifted Commonwealth honours in the amateur ranks winning Gold in Manchester in 2002 and has since gone on to win the Commonwealth professional title as well compiling a 19 fight unbeaten record in the process.

Aside from those achievements his CV also includes glowing references from World Super Middleweight champions, Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler. Both men have shared the ring with Barker in sparring and believe that the Barnet stylist might just have what it takes to join them on the World stage.

Barker is plotting a route to World title glory starting with his Commonwealth title defence against McDermott which will also double as a final eliminator for Matthew Macklin’s British title.

Barker hopes that eliminating his two leading domestic rivals will leave him free to broaden his horizons by the end of this year.

“Obviously after I get my hands on the British title I’d love to move on to the European and World scene but first things first and I’ve got two potentially dangerous domestic fights to take care of before I can leave the British scene behind.”

While not looking beyond his assignment with McDermott on Saturday week Barker believes he can make a serious impact on the World stage. “The middleweight division at world level is very open right now and I don’t see anything out there to worry me,” said the 26-year-old. “When you spar guys like Froch and Kessler it shows you just what you need to compete at the highest level and I honestly believe I’m capable of that.

“I travelled to Denmark to spar with Kessler a couple of years back and he’s a wonderful fighter but I felt I held my own with him. I’ve also sparred Carl on a regular basis and it does wonders for you because it keeps you very sharp and it’s a real confidence booster because you know you’re in there with a World Champ.

“You have to be very focused when you’re in there with Carl because he’s a big, strong Super Middleweight and he can punish you every time you make a mistake so you’re always switched on in the spars.”

Having traded punches with both men Barker is in the perfect position to evaluate a possible Super middleweight unification matchup between WBC kingpin, Froch and WBA Champ, Kessler

“I think it would be a fantastic fight,” predicted Barker. “They are both amazing fighters and the two best guys I’ve ever shared a ring with. It would be a fantastic one to watch but I’d fancy Carl to prevail if it ever comes off. He proved against Jermain Taylor that he’s never beaten and he always finds a way to win so it’s very hard to pick against him even against somebody as good as Kessler is.”

Baker V McDermott headlines an exciting night of boxing at the Watford Colosseum on May 23rd. In the chief support bout Matthew Thirlwall battles it out with George Hillyard in a scheduled 10 round contest while the undercard also features unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury alongside hot prospects Bradley Evans, Steve O’Meara, Steve Barnes and the pro debut of Phill Fury (subject to Board approval). Tickets are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via www.ticketline.co.uk.


FORMER heavyweight Micky Steeds is the heaviest contender in Barry Hearn’s next all-in-one-night Prizefighter tournament.

Eight cruiserweights will be competing in the knockout event on Tuesday at the Earl's Court in London where the last man standing earns £25,000.

Steeds, who has fought for the British title at cruiserweight and heavyweight, tipped the scales at 14st 5lb 11oz, nearly a stone heavier than the lightest man in the competition – Ovill McKenzie at 13st 5lb 13oz.

Bookmakers Sky Bet have installed Dean Francis as the favourite, while former IBF world title challenger Terry Dunstan, who has fought only once in nine years after serving a prison sentence, is second favourite.

“I’m very confident in myself so I think I should be one of the favourites,” said Londoner Dunstan. “A lot of people are judging me on the time that I was out but I’ve always been training and I’m in a very good condition. How many 40 year olds can run a five-minute mile?

“I was wild, young and carefree but as you get older you get wiser and I’m more focused than when I went inside.

“I had two losses before I went in and that’s where I went off the road. I had no focus but now I’ve got focus and Prizefighter has given me a little bit of a future.

“The best of me is still to come and Prizefighter is a stepping stone.

“I’m what you call the English Bernard Hopkins and I hope to push my career out and probably hang up my gloves when I’m 45.

“It will be like taking candy from a baby – but they’re big babies and have tattoos!

“It’s only three rounds so let’s rock and roll. I’m looking forward to it.”

Four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and a final will be staged inside an action-packed three hours, with each contest lasting no more than three rounds.

The eight men in Prizefighter Cruiserweights have all previously held or fought for either a European, Commonwealth or British title so the competition will be fierce.


Whoever wins Prizefighter Cruiserweights will pocket £25,000, the runner-up goes home with £12,000, losing semi-finalists earn £8,000 with those defeated in the quarter-finals collecting £4,000.


The full list of contenders is: Darren Corbett (Belfast), Terry Dunstan (Vauxhall, London), Dean Francis (Basingstoke / Finchley), John Keeton (Sheffield), Ovill McKenzie (Derby), Bruce Scott (Hackney), Neil Simpson (Coventry) and Micky Steeds (Isle of Dogs, London).


Tickets cost £25 (unreserved) and £50 (reserved) and are available by calling 0870 903 9033 (24-hours), online at www.seetickets.com or from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900. The whole show will also be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 from 8pm.

For more information about The Prizefighter Series, please visit www.matchroomsport.com/boxing or www.theprizefighterseries.com

Weights

Ovill McKenzie: 13st 5lb 13oz.
Dean Francis: 13st 12lb 2oz.
Darren Corbett 14st 1 1/2lb.
Bruce Scott: 14st 1lb 11oz
Neil Simpson: 14st 4lb.
Terry Dunstan: 14st 4lb 5oz.
John Keeton: 14st 5lb.
Micky Steeds: 14st 5lb 11oz.


Betting

11/8 Dean Francis
4/1 Terry Dunstan
5/1 Bruce Scott, Micky Steeds
9/1 Darren Corbett
12/1 Ovill McKenzie
16/1 John Keeton
25/1 Neil Simpson

Draw

QF 1: Dean Francis v Neil Simpson
QF 2: John Keeton v Bruce Scott
QF 3: Terry Dunstan v Ovill McKenzie
QF 4: Micky Steeds v Darren Corbett
SF 1: Winner of QF 1 v winner of QF 2
SF 2: Winner of QF 3 v Winner of QF 4
F: Winner of SF 1 v winner of SF 2


OLD SCORES TO BE SETTLED AT PRIZEFIGHTER CRUISERWEIGHTS

THE draw for Prizefighter Cruiserweights has been made – and some old scores could be settled on Tuesday.

Eight cruiserweights will be competing in Barry Hearn’s next all-in-one-night tournament at the Earl's Court in London, England, where the last man standing earns £25,000.

Four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and a final will be staged inside an action-packed three hours, with each contest lasting no more than three rounds.

The draw was held aboard the HMS Victory and was conducted by Vice Admiral Alan Massey CBE ADE Second Sea Lord and former WBO Cruiserweight Champion Johnny Nelson.

John Keeton will be out for revenge in the second quarter-final as he meets Bruce Scott, who has defeated him twice during his professional career.

Scott stopped Keeton in the second round back in 1994 and then knocked him out in the sixth in December 2000 when the vacant British Championship was on the line.

Dean Francis and Neil Simpson, who meet in the first quarter-final, also have history as Francis stopped Simpson during the third round of their clash in April 1996.

The other quarter-finals pair former world title challenger Terry Dunstan against late replacement Ovill McKenzie before Londoner Micky Steeds goes up against Belfast’s Darren Corbett.

A good performance in Prizefighter can change the course of a fighter’s career. On Friday, Martin Rogan, the winner of Prizefighter Heavyweights 1, meets Sam Sexton, the winner of Prizefighter Heavyweights 2, with the Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship up for grabs.

The eight men in Prizefighter Cruiserweights have all previously held or fought for either a European, Commonwealth or British title so the competition will be fierce.

Whoever wins Prizefighter Cruiserweights will pocket £25,000, the runner-up goes home with £12,000, losing semi-finalists earn £8,000 with those defeated in the quarter-finals collecting £4,000.

The full list of contenders is: Darren Corbett (Belfast), Terry Dunstan (Vauxhall, London), Dean Francis (Basingstoke / Finchley), John Keeton (Sheffield), Ovill McKenzie (Derby), Bruce Scott (Hackney), Neil Simpson (Coventry) and Micky Steeds (Isle of Dogs, London).

Tickets cost £25 (unreserved) and £50 (reserved) and are available by calling 0870 903 9033 (24-hours), online at www.seetickets.com or from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900. The whole show will also be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 from 8pm.


MATCHROOM SPORT’S BARRY HEARN’S PREDICTIONS ON EACH OF THE QUARTER-FINALS

Quarter-final 1: Dean Francis v Neil Simpson

Barry Hearn: “Dean Francis is the 15/8 betting favourite and for a good reason. He’s ambitious, strong and looking to challenge for a world title after winning Prizefighter.

“Neil Simpson will give him a huge test although I go with the bookmakers with this one.”


Quarter-final 2: John Keeton v Bruce Scott

BH: “Bruce Scott has not come out of retirement to play games. He is here to win Prizefighter and he has power in both hands to do the job.

“John Keeton has been on a few tough journeys in his career and this looks like being another tough one.”


Quarter-final 3: Terry Dunstan v Ovill McKenzie

BH: “Ovill McKenzie is coming in as a last-minute replacement and he may have drawn one of the toughest fights of the night. Terry Dunstan was a great fighter and he is still a superb athlete so I don’t expect him to tire.

“I’m looking to Dunstan to win but he may have to settle for a points victory.”


Quarter-final 4: Micky Steeds v Darren Corbett

BH: “Without doubt this is the pick of the quarter-finals. Darren Corbett can bang but has been stopped. Micky will bring all of his massive support and the heart the size of a lion.

“This is a tough to pick fight so I’m going to sit on the fence with this one. But whoever wins this contest has a real chance of going on to claim the Prizefighter crown.”


General comments

BH: “If my predictions are right then the semi-finals will be Dean Francis v Bruce Scott and Terry Dunstan v Micky Steeds or Darren Corbett.

“I can’t think of a better line-up to be put on for British fight fans in the last 20 years.

“Whatever happens from this step on, you’ve as much clue as I have! What I can tell you though is that it will be carnage.

“Don’t miss this. Evenings like this don’t come along as often.”


PARTYPOKER.COM THE PRIZEFIGHTER SERIES - CRUISERWEIGHTS

EARL'S COURT, LONDON

TUESDAY, MAY 19 – 8PM.

DRAW

QF1: Dean Francis v Neil Simpson, QF2: John Keeton v Bruce Scott, QF3: Terry Dunstan v Ovill McKenzie, QF4: Micky Steeds v Darren Corbett.

SF1: Winner of QF1 v winner of QF2, SF2: Winner of QF3 v winner of QF4.

Final: Winner of SF1 v Winner of SF2.

For more information about The Prizefighter Series, please visit www.theprizefighterseries.com or www.matchroomsport.com/boxing

Article posted on 14.05.2009



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