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.