Prizefighter Heavyweight IV: Michael Sprott Follows The Script
By Ezio Prapotnich - This edition of Prizefighter was relatively uneventful, although not completely free of controversy, and ended up as most fans and experts expected, with Matt Skelton and Michael Sprott facing each other in the final and Sprott coming out victorious. But, it took 6 fights to get there, starting with…
QUARTER FINAL 1: MATT SKELTON VS ALI ADAMS.
Adams started the fight with a declaration of intents, going straight to war with Skelton. He opened up immediately looking for Matt’s head with straight punches, but just as quickly he got nailed with a right hand and an uppercut and spent most of the first two rounds holding for dear life, to the point where his more experienced opponent lowered his arm out of frustration in order to make him fight. Severely reproached by his corner, in the third round Ali finally switched tactics and started doing what he probably should have done from the beginning: using the jab and moving. And he did it with a certain degree of success, as one of the judges pointed out, but it was too little too late. Skelton wins a unanimous decision: 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28. Ali Adams exits the tournament 9(3)-3(1)-1..
QUARTER FINAL 2: KEVIN MCBRIDE VS FRANKLIN EGOBI.
Written off by virtually everybody, McBride did, overall, better than expected. Make no mistakes, though: this 3 rounder was a sluggish and slow paced affair, with very few highlights. Both fighters spent most of the time holding and grabbing. It looked like a very poor dancing performance. Egobi edged the first round by scoring a couple of hooks and an uppercut, while McBride stole the second by pushing him back with a 1-2 combination. In the third, nothing landed cleanly from either side, but Kevin looked like the aggressor all way through. The contest ended with a split decision, with 2 judges favouring McBride by 29-28 and one Egobi with the same score. Franklin drops to 15(10)-4-0.
QUARTER FINAL 3: DECLAN TIMLIN VS SHANE MCPHILBIN.
In spite of Timlin continuous holding and grabbing, McPhilbin found a way to raise the mood and cheer up the crowd with the only stoppage of the evening. Declan only aim was to nullify the distance between him and Shane to avoid getting hit by constantly clinching him. As soon as he got some breathing space, McPhilbin used his jab effectively to push his opponent in the corner where he proceeded to unload with both hands. After another grabbing session, Shane connected with a hook that wobbled Timlin and followed up with more jabs and a right hand. In the second, he knocked Declan down with a left hook from which he never recovered and after an answered flurry, the referee stopped the contest at 0:51. Timlin lost the 0 in his record and is now 7(4)-1-0.
QUARTER FINAL 4: MICHAEL SPROTT VS DANNY HUGHES.
Sprott first fight of the night was not the easiest. Although winning convincingly all three rounds, he had to take more than a few to get in range and, in spite of a nasty cut on the right eye in the second, Hughes was in the fight till the end. Michael took the first by scoring with the right time and time again. Danny managed to land his own right, though, having the height and reach advantage and due to some wild swings from Sprott that left him open and off balance. In the second, after clipping his opponent with a good left hook, which will be the key weapon in winning the round, Mike went berserk and engaged in some untidy exchanges that forced the referee to push him on the floor to separate him from Hughes, who was now bleeding profusely above the right eye. But, he was still there in the third and still landing occasionally. But, overall, Sprott landed the better punches and it was no surprise when the unanimous 30-27 decision in his favour was announced. Danny Hughes left the tournament 7(2)-2-2 but with his head held high.
SEMIFINAL 1: MATT SKELTON VS KEVIN MCBRIDE.
After holding and grabbing with nothing meaningful landing for the whole first round, Kevin managed to floor Skelton with a short right hook, but, unbelievably, the referee did not rule it a knockdown. Matt was visibly shaken and McBride stalked him on the ropes landing some good body shots and hooks. Kevin started the round as the aggressor but Skelton came back with a right hand. He got pushed on the floor, but this time it was undoubtedly a slip. The second round knockdown not being considered, Matt moved into the final with a unanimous 29-28 decision, while Kevin record is now 35(29)-8(6)-1.
SEMIFINAL 2: MICHAEL SPROTT VS SHANE MCPHILBIN.
In spite of having similar size and reach, McPhiblin gave Sprott a tougher and more even fight than Hughes. From the beginning, Michael seemed determined to make his opponent experience as uncomfortable as possible by any mean necessary. Over three fats paced and tough to score round, with both men having their successes and attacking recklessly at times, Sprott won an unanimous 30-27 decision by landing the more telling blows, even if few and far between, and looking more confident and determined overall. Shane exits with a 3(3)-2-0 record.
FINAL: MATT SKELTON VS MICHAEL SPROTT.
A close and hard fought ending to the night. Most of the fight, the two old rivals battled at close quarters engaging in toe to toe exchanges, hitting as much and as hard as they could but neither being able to land conclusively. Again, Sprott managed to edge it just. In the first he was able to land a clean 1-2-3 combination, in the second the right hand, and in the third he even managed to box, jabbing and moving at spurts. He got the nod by 2 of the judges 29-28, with one scoring the same for Skelton, who falls down to 25(20)-6(3)-0.
In conclusion, Michale Sprott won the prize and improved his record to 35(17)-15(8)-0, avenging at the same time his previous two losses to Skelton. Whether he can re-ignite his career the same way his fellow Prizefighter champion and nemesis Audley Harrison did is debatable, but, if Derek Chisora vacates the British title to fight Klitschko, it would be interesting to see him matched up against Tyson Fury.
Article posted on 10.10.2010
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