Looking At The Prizefighter Tournament - Oct. 2

Paul McCreath - Back in April 2008 Barry Hearn and Matchroom Sport presented the first of what would become a series of popular Prizefighter tournaments in the UK. There have now been several of these and they have all been successful and very popular with the British fans. One has to wonder why this format is not tried in America but on October 2 there will be still another tournament in Britain, this time back with the heavyweights for the third time. Unlike the first two heavyweight shows that featured mostly novice prospects and a few journeymen who normally fight down on the card this time we will see a group of names better known at least in the UK as well as 3 young guns. On the card this time is the current British champion Danny Williams along with 3 other former national champs and the 2000 Olympic gold medal winner Audley Harrison as well as the three young guns, one of whom was hyped just a few months ago as the next George Foreman. The winner will walk away with 32,000 British pounds..

Today we will take a closer look at the entrants to PRIZEFIGHTER HEAVYWEIGHTS III and try to guess who might come out on top. First we will consider the 3 youngsters.

1. Danny Hughes age 23, record 6-0-1 with 1 KO. Danny was a pretty decent amateur and has been a pro since 2007 and has been in with only soft opposition. He drew with Dave Ingleby over 6 rounds but won a rematch on points in 4. He is a big lad standing 6 foot 5 inches and weighing around 270 pounds. His 1 KO in 7 fights suggests little power. It would be a big upset if he can handle the big step up that this tournament presents. He can at best hope to gain some valuable experience.

2. Coleman Barrett age 26, record 8-0-0 with 2 KOs. Coleman began his career as a cruiserweight in 2003 and up until 2005 had won 5 fights then didn't fight again until this year when he returned as a heavyweight. His two opponents in 2009 had combined records of 8-59-1. Again there is little evidence of any power. I am afraid he has little chance against the better veterans who are entered.

3. Scott Belshaw age 24,r ecord 10-2-0 with 7 KOs. Scott received a lot of hype after turning pro in October 2006. His promoter called him the next George Foreman. Unfortunately he has fallen somewhat short so far. The first sign of trouble came when he lost over 6 rounds to the often defeated Danil Peret in March of last year. He managed to reverse that loss 2 fights later again over 6 rounds the following July. In his last fight he was decisively exposed when he was demolished in 2 rounds by Tyson Fury. Scott is big but he does not seem to have progressed. This is his last chance and I see a likely early end to his efforts. He is not in the same class as some of the others.

Few fans would expect any of the above three to win the tournament but remember that nobody thought Martin Rogan would win the first one either and he not only did that but went on to upset Audley Harrison over 10 rounds and then KO'd the Commonwealth and European champion Matt Skelton in 9 after that. Nobody expected Sam Sexton to win the second tournament either but he did and then defeated Rogan after that to win the Commonwealth title. You never know what will happen with this 3 round 3 fights in one night format. That's what the fans love about it. Now lets look at the mostly better known veterans who are entered.

4. Scott Gammer age 32, record 18-4-1 with 9 KOs.S cott is one of the former British champs. He won the vacant title by outpointing the 8-1 Micky Steeds over 12 rounds in October 2006. At this time Gammer was undefeated and considered a pretty good prospect. His first title defense was against the veteran world contender Danny Williams. Many thought Scott would win and go on to better things but it did not happen. After a good start he ran out of gas and was stopped in the 9th round. After one tune-up win he then lost his last three fights to John McDermott, Francesco Pianeta and Robert Helenius. In 2 of those fights he was stopped. Was he overrated to start with or has he slipped?At any rate he will be a long shot if he wins but recent form does not bode well for his chances. If you are looking for a longshot choice Scott could be your man.

5. Michael Holden age 41, record 10-9-0 with 6 KOs. Although Michael held the British title briefly he never defended it and was never more than a big rough club fighter. He is now 41 and hasn't fought in 6 years. Enough said. He is here for the payday.

Now for the 3 fighters who are most likely to succeed.

6. Michael Sprott age 34, record 31-14-0 with 16 KOs. Another former British champ he won the title from Danny Williams in January 2004 after two previous KO losses to Danny in earlier attempts.He lost it again to Matt Skelton that same year. Although somewhat erratic Sprott has scored some very nice wins over his career.He knocked out Audley Harrison in 3 and Holden in 4. He also outpointed fringe world contender Timo Hoffman then dropped a disputed return match in Germany. He twice won by decision in Germany over undefeated prospects Cengiz Koch 21-0 and Rene Dettweiller 18-0 at the time. He has gone the full 12 rounds with contenders Vlad Virchis, Paolo Vidoz and Skelton and went 8 with Lamon Brewster recently. If he is on one of his good nights he could win it all.

7. Audley Harrison age 37 (38 in October), record 23-4-0 with 17 KOs. What can I tell you about Audley that you don't already know? He is an Olympic gold medal winner and the biggest professional disappointment in years. He probably has more talent than anyone in the tournament but his fighting heart is very much in question. The format favours Harrison but remember he lost to the first Prizefighter winner Martin Rogan last time out.He has also lost to Williams and Sprott. He could win it all or he could be the usual flop. Who knows?

8. Finally we have the reigning British champ Danny Williams age 36, record 41-7-0 with 31 KOs. Which Danny will show up? He has had many ups and downs in his career. He knocked out Mike Tyson and stopped Sprott twice. He also split two bouts with both Harrison and Matt Skelton. One of his big problems is a lack of motivation and of course his weight which has run from the 228 pounds for the Gammer fight to around 265 more recently. Danny often starts slowly and the three round format could mean bad news if he does that this time. He has also lost many points on fouls in recent bouts. In a 3 rounder that is suicide. His more recent foes like Oleg Platov,Konstantin Airich, John McDermott twice and Albert Sosnowski have all given Danny some problems. Sosnowski stopped him in 8 rounds. He has been looking old and less motivated. His punching power and chin are probably the best of the bunch and that alone gives him a good chance but he will have to be at his best and start early. Knowing Danny I have my doubts.

To sum up there is no one fighter who stands as a clear favourite to win.Danny will probably be the betting choice but that means little once they are in the ring. I have no real confidence in picking anybody but if I had to name my choice it would be Michael Sprott and even he would be an upset winner. Whoever wins can go on to another good payday but let's not kid ourselves he will be no threat to the Klitschkos. This is strictly a domestic event but don't knock it. The important thing is that we will see real competition rather than the setups we often get on regular fight cards and that is what real fight fans want. Who cares if they are not big names on the world scene?The action will be great and what more can we ask?

Article posted on 22.08.2009

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