Sunday 20 January 2013

Prizefighter & Kal Yafai Report

By Jack Price @PriceyJ97.


Well what a way to start off boxing for Sky Sports and Matchroom Boxing in 2013! The 3rd edition of Prizefighter Welterweights gave us exactly what we were expecting and even more! It clearly wasn't the strongest line-up we had ever seen, but I can 100% say that it was the most-action packed tournament I have ever seen.

The action kicked off with the favorite Mark Thompson scoring a second round stoppage over Rob Hunt. The relentless pressure of the experienced veteran was just simply too much for the over-matched opponent that stood in front of him. The fight of the night came next when youngster Sam Eggington, just 19-years old, stepped into the ring with Dale Evans. Eggington was wobbled early on and looked close to being stopped, but somehow he managed to pull his way back into the fight and make it a close one. With it all even going into the third, Evans was the man who stepped it up that little bit extra and took the fight.

The third quarter-final saw the heavily-hyped Chad Gaynor in with Calum Cooper. This proved to be a big mismatch as Gaynor blasted through his opponent in less than a round. Glen Foot Vs Steven Pearce came up next. Pearce showed a lot of courage but just simply couldn't handle Foot's pressure and was stopped in the second round meaning the semi-final line-up was complete: Mark Thompson Vs Dale Evans & Chad Gaynor Vs Glen Foot.

The old Prizefighter saying "the favorite never wins" proved to be true again in semi-final one when Dale Evans upset Mark Thompson. The 21-year old out-muscled and out-fought his much older opponent to earn a well deserved unanimous decision victory.

Next up was the mouth-watering match-up between Chad Gaynor and Glenn Foot. Both fighters had made great names for themselves in the first round and wanted to continue the trend here. Foot started very strongly and had Gaynor flustered a few times in round one. However, Gaynor's superior movement was causing his 25-year old opponent trouble at some points throughout the fight. It all came down to who wanted it more, and Foot pushed that little bit harder to catch the judges eye when the fight was close. We were now set for a highly-anticipated final between Evans and Foot!

After a long rest for both fighters, they both made their way to the ring for the biggest fight of their careers so far. It was a slow start from both pressure fighters and the first round was a very tough one to score. In the second round Foot proved to be the superior boxer, landing the cleaner and more solid punches. Evans, clearly tired out from the previous rounds, was just looking for those big bombs. He found one in the final round when he landed a devastating left-hook to the body that almost bent Foot in half. However, the undefeated warrior managed to stay on his feet and last out the remainder of the fight.
To add to the tension the result was announced as a split decision. After a dragged-out announcement from the MC, Glenn Foot was announced as the winner of the Prizefighter title and £32,000 paycheck.

The majority of the fighters, especially Evans and Foot, made great names for themselves in this tournament and I'm sure we will see them in the ring again in the future. With the likes of Denton Vassell, Lee Purdy and Frankie Gavin ruling the domestic welterweight scene at the moment it's going to be hard for up and coming fighters to break through onto the top level, but I can see Foot, and maybe even Evans making their way into that mix very soon.

Kal Yafai Vs Gonzalo Garcia

Undefeated bantamweight prospect Kal Yafai (7-0, 6 KO's) was also in action on the bill in Wolverhampton last night when he took on Mexican Gonzalo Garcia (8-7, 4 KO's). Returning to his hometown of Birmingham for the first time in his professional career, the 23-year old was eager to keep up his impressive form.

Unfortunately he wasn't able to be the explosive accurate-punching fighter that he usually is. The main reason for this is that Garcia just knew all the tricks in the book and was just there to make it an awkward night for Yafai. When Yafai did step forward and let his hands go the Mexican just grabbed hold of him until the referee split them up.

However, Yafai was not going to let him get away with this. The 2008 Olympic representative picked up the pace in round four and started to whip in those powerful body shots. This proved to have an affect on Garcia as he was pulled out by his team at the end of the round.

As I said, it wasn't the most impressive performance from Yafai but it's just another step towards those major titles that Eddie Hearn has promised us. Yafai himself said after the fight that it was an "average performance" and that he would be "10 times better next time out." And you have to believe him. Garcia was an awkward customer and it was a much-needed learning experience for the hot young prospect in just the seventh fight of his career. He certainly isn't "Britain's best" yet, but he is well on his way!

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