Barry Hearn’s revolutionary Prizefighter boxing show makes it’s 15th outing on 20th November at York Hall, Bethnal Green. This time its the turn of the Super Featherweights led by former WBU World Champion Choi Tseveenpurev and former Lonsdale and EBU belt challenger Gary Buckland.
The Mongolian based in Oldham, Lancs boasts an impressive looking 29-4(21) record with a brutal stoppage win over Derry Matthews (KO 5), but has been beaten by relatively poor opposition before and has been inactive of late with only 5 rounds of boxing in the last 2 years. Buckland is still smarting from his war with Manchester’s John Murray for the British and European Lightweight crowns back in May (Buckland lost TKO 11). Buckland himself has a very respectable 18-2(6) record with a narrow points loss to Ben Murphy over 6 the only blip before he ran into Murray. Buckland also hits a lot harder than his KO percentage would lead you to believe.
Alongside Tseveenpurev and Buckland will be Stoke’s Scott Lawton, who hasnt boxed since his three round mauling at the hands of Levan Kirakosyan for the vacant EBU Super Featherweight Title. Scott has a 27-6(6) record but has been well beaten each time he has stepped up beyond English title level, suffering bad knockout defeats to John Murray and Jon Thaxton with Lawton’s alarming lack of power being a considerable factor in both.
Also joining the line-up is Northern Ireland’s Kevin O’Hara 17-6(5), who like Lawton has been convincingly beaten each time he has stepped up to British level. The fifth man in the lineup is Manchester’s Stevie Bell, who’s 18-2(5) record is very misleading with the vast majority of his wins coming against survival minded journeymen.
Kevin McArthur 15-1(2) was the 6th man to be announced as a competitor. McArthur is a Prizefighter veteran with a previous outing in the last Prizefighter: Lightweights – losing in the semi-finals to Stephen Burke. He is the weakest fighter in the lineup and will need to call on his previous experience if he is to progress beyond the opening round this time. Comebacking Derry Mathews also makes an appearance on the Prizefighter bill.
Mathews 23-4(11) has fought twice so far in his comeback, winning both on points. Mathews has history with both Lawton and Tsveenpurev(losing both by KO) and will be hoping to readdress the balance during the night.
The last entrant to Prizefighter is also the most surprising. The current British Champion Gary Sykes risks both his standing amongst his rivals and his unbeaten record in the tournament. Sykes 16-0(4) is ever improving and holds good wins over Anthony Crolla, Andy Morris and Kevin O’Hara but the lottery that is Prizefighter and the fact that Sykes can be a slow starter could prove to be the champions undoing.
This installment of the Prizefighter series promises to be a highly charged evening with plenty of history between the fighters. Mathews, Tsveenpurev and Lawton are all in the last chance saloon and will be hoping that a win in the tournament can get them back into the big time. On the other hand, Sykes and Buckland have everything to gain in advancing their careers but also have everything to lose. A defeat could put them all the way back to square one.
As for who will come out on top, this tournament really is wide open. The favourites from the start should be the champion Sykes and Buckland. Lawton, Mathews and Tseveenpurev’s chances will all depend greatly on how much they have left in the tank. McArthur, O’Hara and Bell will all be the outsiders at the start of the competition but could spring an upset over the three round format. If I were to put a bet on the outcome I’d have to go for Gary Sykes, as British champion he should be the cream on the crop and i’m backing the champ to retain his perfect record with a close (possibly split) decision over Buckland in the final.