Tommy Barber – London
British prospect Rocky Fielding, a former champion of Prizefighter: Super Middleweights II, continued his journey in the light heavyweight division to take on Ciaran Healy at the Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Manchester on Saturday, May 18 and the Liverpudlian – backed by a 200-strong fanbase – left the ring a clear winner having retired his journeyman opponent at the end of play in the fourth round.
Official verdict: Fielding by way of fourth round TKO.
Keeping himself out of range, Fielding utilised his height and reach advantages over the 5’11 Ciaran Healy. Trained by Oliver Harrison, Fielding failed to claim the opening round but captured the second as Healy’s non-stop work ethic paid dividends but was eventually overshadowed by Fielding’s cleaner work. Ensuring his man did not get sucked into a stand-off, Harrison, prior to the third round, implored Rocky not to get involved with the veteran Northern Irishman.
Taking heed of his instructor’s advice, Fielding began to jab comfortably. Having found his timing, to compliment the previously existing range, Fielding stabbed Healy with solitary strikes. Healy’s stubborn gusto, though, proved arduous to quell but that come forward nature was almost his undoing with less than 30 seconds left on the round clock as the 37-year-old was forced to his knees having taken a short-range left hook flush to the body.
Fielding fortified his status as ring general in the fourth round when he managed to force Healy onto the backfoot, notably when he struck his opponent with double hook shots. Healy took a barrage of head-bound shots at numerous points in the round and was withdrawn from the bout at the end of the stanza.
It was a mismatch on paper and a mismatch in the ring, something Fielding perhaps alluded to when he mentioned post-fight that he wants to keep learning his trade by taking on opponents with greater experience: “I’ve been out the ring for seven months,” said Rocky to Box Nation. “He came at me straight away, I felt him out for two rounds but got my shots going. I want to keep progressing, get more experienced fighters, keep on learning and cracking on.”
With the stoppage win, Fielding moves to 10-0-0, 4ko while Healy drops to 13-21-1, 4ko.
Tommy Barber – London
Former Prizefighter champion Rocky Fielding continued his education with journeyman opponent Tommy Tolan who was brought in from Northern Ireland to give rounds to one of the Frank Warren Sports Network’s latest additions. It took a few rounds for Fielding to find his natural rhythm, but the popular Liverpudlian defeated his opposite number over the six round distance in front of his own fans at the Echo Arena on Saturday, October 15.
Referee Verdict: Fielding win.
A physically bigger super middleweight by around six inches, Fielding was swarmed by Tolan as immediately as the first round and, the former Prizefighter champion who signed promotional terms with Frank Warren following his triumph in the Last Man Standing competition, suffered a cut to the top of the eye. The third man in the ring alerted the corners to his opinion that it was caused by a coming together of heads, an opinion backed by television replays.
In the second round, Fielding further utilised his one-two combination: the left jab followed up with the right cross; a shot that had provided Rocky with sterling success in his fledgling career. By the third, Fielding began extending his jab, keeping Tolan away from the close range that his diminutive opponent desired.
In the fourth, Fielding boxed with more intent and, when fighting at a high tempo, showed good accuracy against a retreating Tolan. However, when Rocky returned to outside fighting, he gave Tolan confidence to step inside as he was not authoritative enough with his jab. By fighting tall and using his reach, the outside game would have been made easier for him.
The referee warned both fighters about leading with the head, something Tolan in particular was guilty of whether by accident (due to his lack of size compared to Fielding) or by design. Towards the end of the round, Rocky landed a punishing right hand onto Tolan’s skull that made the Irish Tiger take clumsy steps backwards.
In the fifth round, Tolan showed that his greatest chance of success against Fielding was by backing Rocky into the ropes and flurrying with aggression. His one good shot that he used when the fight was in the middle of the ring, was the hail Mary right hand. Fielding had a greater variety of punches and showed a wise shot selection where he landed left hooks to the temple, right cross shots to the chin together with punches to the body.
Tolan upped the tempo in the final round but any aggression he used in order to either win the round or gain a knockout was offset by Fielding’s ability to use range and natural rhythm. With the win – a referee’s decision – Fielding moved up to 9-0-0, 3ko.
Alan Dawson – London
Two relative novices to the professional game stunned the bookmakers to advance all the way to the Prizefighter final as Rocky Fielding, a late replacement to the eight-man tournament due to the inability of Kenny Anderson to make weight and maintain fitness clashed with Tobias Webb in the final.
Webb had, prior to Wednesday’s three-stage tournament, just five pro fights to his name. He already slayed the previous winner of Prizefighter’s first super middleweight tournament; Patrick Mendy, in a four round pro bout.
Fielding lived up to his Rocky moniker by securing two thrilling knockouts in the quarter-final and semi-final stage. He therefore had boxed nine minutes less than Webb who had emerged triumphant in two tear-ups with former world champion Robin Reid and teak-tough power-puncher Jahmaine Smyle.
Judges verdict – Not applicable due to Webb’s retirement.
Round by round summary – From the chime of the opening bell Webb needed to negate two advantages that his adversary possessed. Firstly, Fielding’s obvious superior reach and secondly, his proven record of knocking contenders off their legs early.
Within twenty seconds the two involved themselves in a brawling exchange. Fielding’s jab penetrated through Webb’s guard and sparked a kerfuffle of punches before both fighters calmed the tempo down again. Fielding led with his jab; the intention was clear – he wanted to box his way to victory without the need to plunge into a dust-up; something Webb had shown he could live with having stood up to both Reid and Smyle. Webb, though, resorted to clinching as Rocky found success with a crippling body shot.
Thirty seconds before the end of the first stanza a quick exchange resulted with Webb having to take a knee forcing a ten count. The referee got to eight before Webb returned to his feet. The accumulative effect of two energy-sapping fights had clearly taken it’s toll on Webb while the fresher Fielding still had plenty left in the tank. With just a few seconds remaining, Rocky again forced Webb down. The knockdowns weren’t a result of Fielding’s power per se, but more due to him being completely fatigued and unable to stand strong. His mind was determined but his legs were tired.
Webb’s corner waved off the fight before their fighter could emerge for the second round; retiring their ward in his stool.
Tonight’s Prizefighter could have been written by a Hollywood executive having Rocky flashbacks as underdog Fielding, who wasn’t even included in the line-up until last week and wouldn’t have been training for such an experience, stormed his way all the way to the silver trophy and the £32,000 cheque with knockout after knockout after knockout.
Fielding, who only knew he would be participating in the competition five days ago, told Sky Sports he was “buzzing” because of the victory.
“It feels unbelievable,” Fielding said. “It could be made up! I’m buzzing. I worked hard for eleven years. I thought I was sharp, a better boxer, I picked my shots… I don’t know what to say, I was the better boxer on the night.”
The unfancied Liverpudlian who has written himself into Prizefighter history by becoming the first winner to defeat all three of his opponents inside the distance, continued: “That record is something to chant about. These fans are unbelievable. They’ve been with me from day one. This is life-changing. I’ve proven I can bang… I can punch.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “Rocky Fielding is what Prizefighter is all about! He’s done what all young fighters have to do. He took the challenge, he delivered and he walks home with £32,000.”
When probed as to what he will do with his winnings, Fielding amusingly replied: “I’m going to go party with all these [the fans]!”
Alan Dawson – London
Three out of the four semi-finalists deserved their place in the penultimate stage of Prizefighter: Super Middleweights II, however, Joe Ainscough appeared to benefit from a hometown decision after being dominated by Wayne Reed in the quarter-final stage. Ainscough met Rocky Fielding in the first semi-final as Fielding was the only contestant in the opening round to please the home fans with a strong technical knockout over Patrick J Maxwell.
Jahmaine Smyle expended a great amount of energy during his battle with pre-tournament favourite, Carl Dilks due to his relentless power-punching and if he can maintain that style of fighting through the penultimate stage of the competition then that is testament to his conditioning. Tobias Webb, despite only five pro bouts, looked the real deal when he secured a huge scalp against former world titlist Robin Reid.
Judges verdict – Not applicable due to knockout.
Round by round summary - Out of all the Prizefighter contenders, Fielding should have the better legs as he only boxed six minutes compared to the three other semi-finalists’ full nine minute fights.
The first round began in just as much controversy as Ainscough’s quarter-final decision. Fielding appeared to score an early knockdown… Ainscough’s legs looked weak following hard head shots from Rocky. The former fell to the deck yet the referee ruled it as a slip. Fielding continued to enjoy phenomenal success… he was patient, weaving a left mitt around his own temple before stretching it out to launch a powerful volley of physical abuse for crowd favourite Ainscough to endure.
Fielding forced Ainscough into a turnbuckle and a swift combination that targetted Ainscough’s face left the latter with cuts over both eyes. Claret streamed down his face as the referee decided Ainscough had suffered enough violation. Despite the fighter’s disappointment, his corner agreed with the stoppage.
The winner, Rocky, secured his second knockout of the night and it was again in stunning fashion. His left hook was a potent weapon yet his fistic armoury also contained powerful rights as well as his measuring jab.
Judges verdict – Tobias Webb wins via unanimous decision: 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.
Round by round summary - Arguably the more powerful of all the possible match-ups this evening, the second semi-final pitted a Smyle – who has muscles popping out of his muscles – against Webb, who obliterated Reid. Smyle again showed that he was prepared to walk through punches in order to find success himself as Webb launched a one-two combination before trying to dance his way out of trouble, however, Smyle expelled a countering clip before Webb could navigate his way out of trouble.
Webb’s body-punching looked formidable. His ability to lead with the jab before doubling up with shots to the head and body kept Smyle guessing as to where to block the incoming blows. The first round must be given to Webb for his superior boxing ability. Smyle couldn’t cope with the movement of Webb. Smyle lacked any kind of lateral movement and all too often he’d plant his feet, which meant a, he was an easier target for Webb and b, he gave himself little chance of evading the punches even if he wanted to.
Webb began the second round again looking like the better technician out of the two. He looked finely balanced and possessed an aesthetically-pleasing style. Webb’s intuition was also strong as Smyle’s jabs were instantly blocked by Webb who propped up his gloves and denied Smyle access to his face due to his stiff forearms. Smyle, though, was undeterred and kept a pressured, come-forward approach. If Smyle was to find success, he’d need to back Webb onto the ropes and keep fighting on the inside. In the final minute, a toe-to-toe battle almost ensued with Smyle even clipping Webb on the chin. Smyle was dominant in the last 60 seconds but Webb’s work in the opening two minutes wins him the round. Tough three minutes to score – the judges could well be split.
Smyle introduced a switch-hitting style in the third round, he began the stanza in the southpaw stance, perhaps in an effort to confuse Webb, however, within 30 seconds he returned to his natural orthodox posture.
Webb’s movement had slowed somewhat… he may feel he was ahead on the scorecard and so was trying to conserve energy for the final. Webb landed a head shot, fighting his way off the ropes before moving around the ring. Occasionally he’d tie up, but this would last less than a second before he’d fight his way out of trouble. Smyle was being out-boxed but not out-punched as he landed a tough one-two either side of Webb’s ribs.
Fight of the night candidate. Fantastic three rounds.
Alan Dawson – London
The cast of Prizefighter: Super Middleweight II consisted of a majority of boxers who pride themselves on their ability to bang. Considering the structure of the tournament, brawlers – on paper – have the edge on boxers as, with only three rounds to impress the judges should the fight go the scheduled distance, there is no advantage in starting slow and feeling out your opponent. Come-forward sluggers who set the tempo from the off would no doubt attract the ten scores providing a guard is kept tight in order to combat the possible counter.
Judges verdict – Not applicable due to knockout.
Round by round summary – Rocky Fielding, a late addition to the eight-man ensemble, had the height advantage over journeyman Patrick J Maxwell. Their bout began in a sloppy fashion as Maxwell attempted to wrestle Fielding toward the ropes. Maxwell is known for his power-punching. He likes to stop his fights early if he can and this was on show in front of the largely Liverpudlian crowd. Fielding looked to be the greater technician out of the two as Maxwell appeared to have ring-rust. Both men traded tremendous hits.
The fast tempo from the first three minutes continued into the second stanza with Fielding’s long-range boxing finding success on the head of Maxwell. Fielding may be inexperienced in the pro ranks, but his clinical punching gave Maxwell spaghetti legs within the first 30 seconds; forcing him to clinch in order to regain his composure.
The knockdown was coming and, one minute later, a left hook from Fielding canvassed Maxwell. The latter beat the count and looked reasonably recovered when he rose to his feet but the local boy battered Maxwell with a barrage of well-landed shots which led the referee to step in and stop the fight before it even had a chance to progress to the third round.
Judges verdict – Joe Ainscough wins via split decision: 29-28 Ainscough, 30-28 Ainscough, 29-27 Wayne Reed. [Editor's note - the perfect score for Ainscough is absolutely barmy considering the third round knockdown].
Round by round summary – Former ABA champion Joe Ainscough came out flying and looked to land a right to Wayne Reed’s breadbasket. His next shots, though, were swung with a reckless abandon like he had modelled his style on Ricardo Mayorga. Reed found success himself, but his low guard was his ultimate downfall as Ainscough found Reed’s chin with a solid shot. Thirty seconds later he again found Reed’s bullseye with another right. And another. Then a left hook. Punishing round from Ainscough.
Reed started the second round with a high left mitt which would have been drummed into him by his corner in order to protect himself from the straight right from Ainscough. Reed was tentative, yet landed the odd pot shot including a good body punch. His head movement had improved and his ability to make Ainscough miss could perhaps attract a redeeming ten score in the second round, yet Ainscough was forcing the fight and a couple more blows compared to Reed’s hopeful jab-led combinations. A tight round and ultimately could come down to personal taste. Pressure versus boxing and moving. My taste? I like the way Reed recovered – he oft made him miss.
Reed again started the round well, boxing from the outside and landing a left. Leading with the left and landing again. Reed certainly appeared far more comfortable boxing from range. A one-two to Ainscough’s face led to trouble for the man who won the first yet had now fallen behind. Reed showed great heart and determination to come from behind and looked to finish the bout early with some accurate chin-shots. Ainscough himself wanted to return some of the punishment handed to him from Reed but as soon as he opened himself up, Reed scored a crucial knockdown with a stunning combo.
Judges verdict – Tobias Webb wins via unanimous decision: 30-27, 30-28, 29-28.
Round by round summary – Two wars were followed up with what promised to be another battle between Robin Reid’s experience and Tobias Webb’s youthfulness and strength. Both enjoyed a good exchange at the start of the first yet Reid seemed the more disjointed of the two. Reid had to be warned by the referee for punching the back of Webb following a clumsy to-and-fro. Webb’s body punching looked particularly good while Reid’s conditioning – even at this early stage – was questionable. Webb’s jabbing was almost flirtatious… he would tease his left out just to judge where Reid’s head was, and would then follow that up with a power flurry.
In the second stanza, Reid’s problems were obvious to see. The erstwhile world champion wasn’t to be found in the Prizefighter ring as he’d tie-up whenever he was in trouble and clearly didn’t fancy his chances on the inside. Webb grew in confidence and even began showboating. Reid did, to his credit, gain some success with his jab, yet Webb’s power combinations left a greater impression. Webb has good amateur pedigree, with a reputation for hitting hard yet it was his hand-speed – against Reid – looked grand. Reid landed straight rights to Webb’s temple, it was a more competitive round, yet I still have Webb ahead.
In the third round Reid used his wisdom from 46-pro fights to spoil the work of Webb by clinching… slowing down Webb’s momentum. Reid emerged the stronger of the two fighters as he began pressuring Webb who, in turn, started to try to take advantage of the space of the ring. Reid had control of the centre of the stage. Reid took a straight flush on the chin. Tough round to score, no clear winner of the round yet there is for the fight – Webb.
Judges verdict – Jahmaine Smyle wins via split decision: 29-28 Smyle, 29-28 Smyle, 29-28 Dilks.
Round by round summary – Carl Dilks may have had the height advantage at 5’11 but it was Jahmaine Smyle who had the overall physical edge – there looked to be thunderous power rooted in his cut frame. The fourth quarter-final lacked the killer instinct that the first three bouts possessed as a tactical war seemed to be declared by both men. Smyle with his double jab and command of the ring against Dilks with his cautious punch, bob and weave method. Dilks grew into the round and showed good accuracy, especially with a one-two, however, when Smyle cut off the ring and forced Dilks against the ropes he looked good fighting on the inside – landing on Dilks’ body.
The second round again had Dilks dancing around the outside of the ring yet as soon as he paused, Smyle unloaded with powerful body shots. Dilks, against the ropes, was tormented with more body shots. Smyle continued to cut off the ring, forcing Dilks into punchable avenues and landed shots on the noggin’ without any retaliation. Dilks landed occasional solitary shots to Smyle’s head but it was Smyle with the better work whose relentless body-punching had already gassed the poorly conditioned Dilks.
In the third, Dilks tried to keep Smyle at bay with his jab but Smyle looked to be schooled in the thought of throwing two in exchange of being hit by one. He walked through shots to keep the pressure on Dilks. Dilks was in no mood to just roll over and despite being fatigued, still landed good, weighty punches to Smyle’s braincase. The final minute of the round had Dilks mainly fighting off the ropes, taking a lot of punishment.
Alan Dawson – London
The Prizefighter franchise returns on Wednesday, March 23 with eight super middleweights all vying for supremacy in this three-stage, three round knockout competition with £32,000 and a silver keepsake awarded to the last man standing.
The 17th edition of the tournament, staged at Liverpool‘s Olympia arena, has drawn up some interesting names.
Included in the draw last week were four local favourites including one former world title holder and bronze medal Olympian, a fighter who scalped Patrick Mendy (the winner of the last Prizefighter between 168lbers) in the pro ranks, a plethora of prospects, as well as a stabbing victim who was told in 2007 he’d never box again.
Patrick J Maxwell – [32yrs, 5'8, 16-3-1, 11ko]
Maxwell is a late bloomer. He’s a hard puncher with a proven knockout ratio. A travelled journeyman having fought in Philadelphia and California, USA, and Navalcarnero, near Madrid, Spain, he now brings his game to Liverpool for the first time as a pro. Maxwell has admitted his career has been stop-start and claims he is motivated to change that around by lifting aloft the Prizefighter trophy. His aggressive nature could work well for him, however, his frame is arguably more suited to the junior middleweight division as opposed to the super middleweight class.
Rocky Fielding - [23yrs, 3-0-0, 0ko]
The most inexperienced out of all the contestants, Fielding is a late addition to the Prizefighter ensemble as he was a replacement for Scotsman Kenny Anderson who failed to make weight and had fitness difficulties. Insufficient training for three, three-round contests is the obvious disadvantage for Fielding, together with being drawn to fight elder statesman Maxwell in the first quarter-final. Fielding, though, has had to drop down to the 168lb limit as he normally campaigns at light-heavyweight (175lbs).
Joe Ainscough – [31yrs, 6'0, 7-2-1, 1ko]
A stabbing in 2007 rendered Ainscough hospitalised with a punctured bowel, bladder and rectum. He made his return to the ring earlier in the month where he beat Illiya Shakura in a four-round tune-up bout in order to ready himself for Prizefighter. Ainscough is determined. Following his six month recovery from the knife attack he convinced himself he would again box pro despite a potentially disheartening prognosis. He will also have the benefit of a local crowd as the arena is just one mile away from where he grew up. Ainscough’s style is made for Prizefighter as he’s more of a brawler than a boxer. He likes to throw bombs rather than jabs.
Wayne Reed – [23yrs, 5'10, 5-1-0, 2ko]
Inspired by war-happy battlers like Marvin Hagler and Micky Ward, Reed himself got his career off to a strong start by defeating fellow Prizefighter hopeful Jahmaine Smyle in two rounds. His sole defeat, against Peter Federenko, arrived in 2009 after he accepted the fight with just 24 hours notice. “I’ve got nothing to lose but everything to gain,” Reed said to Sky Sports, who added that he hopes his “heart and bottle” will help see him through each stage of the competition.
Robin Reid – [40yrs, 5'9, 39-6-1, 27ko]
Reid, the tournament veteran, won a bronze medal as an amateur at the 1992 Olympics. He can also brag a 46-fight professional resume that consisted of world title fights, a WBC belt, and the experience of sharing a ring with Carl Froch (lost), Jeff Lacy (lost), Brian Magee (won), Joe Calzaghe (lost) and Henry Wharton (won). At his peak, he possessed a damaging left hook body shot and a solid straight right. It will be his first pro bout in four years yet he has maintained a good athletic physique by working the mitts with young boxers at his gym. Will he be conditioned enough to box three fights of nine minutes apiece if he is to go all the way? He faces hungry competition youngster Tobias Webb in the third quarter-final.
Tobias Webb – [22yrs, 4-0-1, 0ko]
Webb already has a commendable win on his blossoming pro record as he recently beat Patrick Mendy, who was victorious in the first Prizefighter that pitted eight super middleweights together. Webb is the nephew of former WBO World Cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli. He has a solid amateur pedigree behind him and, despite his record of zero professional knockouts, is known to be a hard hitter. Since turning professional he has become more of a complete boxer as he is beginning to incorporate lateral movement and foot speed into his power-punch combinations.
Carl Dilks – [27yrs, 5'11, 14-3-0, 5ko]
They call him ‘Dynamite’ Dilks yet his performance against James DeGale was like pulling the pins out of a brace of grenades and strapping one to his chin and another to his chest as he was blown apart by the 2008 Olympian. Dilks is the tournament favourite due to his pedigree prior to the DeGale loss (it was the only time he had been stopped) as well as his potential route to the final. However, there will be a question mark over his ability to bounce back following his 1st round technical knockout last September. Dilks, a counter-puncher, typically gets stronger the longer a fight goes on, however, this is a negative in Prizefighter as there are only three rounds to assert yourself. If he is to go all the way, he needs that spark from the opening bell.
Jahmaine Smyle – [24yrs, 6'0, 3-1-1, 3ko]
Prizefighter is a good launching platform for prospects like Smyle who would otherwise require a number of years climbing up the domestic rankings. Smyle will look to avenge his sole defeat, against Wayne Reed, who he could meet in the semi-finals should both fighters win their respective quarter-final clashes. Against Dilks he may have his hands full as, despite being 6-foot tall he won’t have much of a height advantage and he lacks the experience that Dilks possesses. Smyle’s style is to bring the fight to his opponent and if he pressures Dilks – with accuracy – from the start, then he could give him nightmares. Such an attack-minded kayo-hungry approach, though, leaves the pursuer open to be countered.
On The Beak tip
The third quarter-final between Reid and Webb is strong, and will likely produce the outright winner of the tournament who will no doubt fancy a lucrative fight with the victor in the highly-anticipated grudge match between James DeGale and George Groves later in the year.