Tonight, Saturday February 11th see’s the return of Sky Sport’s hugely successful Prizefighter series.
It is the 22nd edition of the tournament, where eight fighters of the same weight will compete for a grand prize of £32,000 at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton. The concept was created by legendary promoter Barry Hearn of Matchroom Sports as a new way to increase the profile and competition of British boxing.
Prizefighter has been used as a platform by fighters to launch (or in some cases re-launch) their careers, with boxers including Martin Murray, Gavin Rees, Gary Buckland, Audley Harrison and Scottish star Ryan Brawley(pictured) all benefiting greatly from its high profile.
In this series, the Light Welterweight’s will compete for the second time, after Welsh hitman Gavin Rees defeated veteran Colin Lynes in the previous final at the London Olympia in December 2009.
The boxers who will slug it out for the jackpot prize tonight include unbeaten prodigy’s Tyrone Nurse and Dale Miles, experienced pugilists Young Mutley and Mark Lloyd, hometown boy Dean Harrison, Scouser John Watson, Motherwell brawler Barry Morrison and the bookies favourite, Adil Anwar.
It really is a fearsome line-up of fighters, with Anwar being the undefeated English Welterweight champion along with Morrison and Mutley being former British champions also.
Undoubtebly whoever wins the tournament will use it as a catalyst to propel themselves up the British boxing ladder. After his win over Coleman Barrett in the 2009 Prizefighter, Audley Harrison earned a shot at David Haye for the World Heavyweight Championship but came up short, in what can only be described as a truly cringe worthy display.
However, there are other previous winners who have had tremendous success after their wins. The 2008 winner, St Helens’ Martin Murray became Commonwealth Middleweight Champion in 2010 and earned a draw against Felix Sturm in Germany for the WBA title.
Gary Buckland became British Super-Featherweight champion in 2o11, defeating Gary Sykes in a fantastic back and forth bout after his Prizefighter win in 201o and Ovill McKenzie, the 2009 Light-Heavyweight winner, became Commonwealth champion for the second time in November 2011, after defeating Welshman Jeff Evans in just 15 seconds.
So inevitabley, whoever does win tonights tournament, will have the ball in their court when it comes to future fights. It’s a tournament that makes current champions look over their shoulders and take notice. Prizefighter has been a fantastic success not only for the fighters trying to make name’s for themselves but also for the fans by bringing back an excellent quality of domestic British fights.