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New “Prizefighter: The International Heavyweights” Line-Up Taking Shape - Johnson, Sosnowski, Meehan, Dallas In; Wilder, Rogan, McDermott Possibilities

By James Slater: Fans of the Eddie Hearn-promoted, Sky Sports-televised “Prizefighter” series will be excited about the latest instalment, of The International Heavyweights, that is set for June 20th at the historic York Hall in the heart of London.

It has been confirmed today that top-rated American Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson has confirmed his participation, along with Albert Sosnowski of Poland, Kali Meehan of New Zealand and the U.K’s Tom Dallas. That’s half of the line-up right there, but the other four guys have yet to be finalised. However, according to Hearn’s Twitter page, invites have been sent out to 2008 U.S Olympian Deontay Wilder, as well as well-known British warriors Martin Rogan (a former winner of “Prizefighter”) and John McDermott.

It will be great if these three fighters accept (although I will be surprised if “Bronze Bomber” Wilder gets involved, what with the 26-year-old already having bouts set for May and June) and that will still leave the event needing one more top name.

Back in May of last year, ahead of the tourney that was eventually won by Ireland-based Cuban Mike Perez, Hearn was given a fair amount of headaches, as name after name unfortunately, and for various reasons, fell out: James Toney was at one time supposed to be a participant, as was “Kingpin” Johnson. It was passport trouble that spoilt Johnson’s 2011 trip to London, yet he is now determined to arrive in time for the June 20th tournament, and to “put the American boxing scene back on the map” by winning.

So far, though he is no murderous puncher, Johnson must be looked at as an early favourite. If Wilder does agree to come over, the excitement level will certainly go up some; as will Johnson’s chances of winning go down - just imagine if these two met in the grand final!

As for Sosnowksi, Meehan, Dallas, McDermott and Rogan - all five guys have suffered hard times in the ring recently, and the June date would offer them a last chance saloon scenario in which to revive their careers. Look for at least four of them to take the opportunity that is now being offered.

But who would be an ideal eighth fighter to come in and make the June 20th show a slugfest lover’s paradise? To my mind, one name springs out immediately: that of Queens battler and all-round fan-fave Vinny Maddalone. Maddalone was interested in participating in last May’s tourney, yet he wasn’t given adequate time to get into top shape. Having just won a fight (on May 2nd, a thrilling 4th-round stoppage win over a game Chris Koval) Vinny may feel ready, willing and able to come over for June.

Let’s hope so. Maddalone has told this writer a number of times how he would love to box in England before his career is over with…… Vinny, if you’re reading this; get your team to get in touch with Hearn, and make your U.K fans proud with your participation in the latest instalment of the heavyweight tournament that could have been conceived with you in mind!

Article posted on 18.05.2012



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