3 More Rounds

Robin Reid Comeback Ruined, Outsider Claims Prizefighter Jackpot

On five days’ notice, hometown novice Rocky Fielding stunned a seasoned field to emerge triumphant, in the latest edition of the Prizefighter series featured the super-middleweight division at Liverpool’s Olympia earlier this evening.

For the uninitiated, the Prizefighter format is 8 fighters, 7 fights, 1 Prizefighter champion. The tournament is a straight knockout (forgive the pun) affair, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final, all taking place in the one night. Each bout is 3×3-minute rounds, using the standard professional 10-point scoring system, with the eventual winner walking away with £32,000, and a potential route back to domestic title opportunities (case in point: Audley Harrison won the heavyweight version back in 2009, and landed a European, then world title shot off the back of it).

Quarter finals

The night kicked off with a bang, as rangy Rocky Fielding stopped Patrick J Maxwell inside two rounds to get the locals in the Olympia rocking. The Scouser uncorked a vicious right uppercut-left hook combination, to send Maxwell on his way out of the tournament.

The explosive start continued into the second quarter-final, as another Liverpool lad Joe Ainscough landed some early bombs against Sheffield southpaw Wayne Reed, but appeared to run out of steam in the latter part, and was knocked down with the last punch of the fight. Ainscough beat the count to hear the final bell, and took an objectionable split decision victory, thanks to judge Ian-John Lewis (remember the guy who allowed Shannon Briggs to take a beating from Vitali Klitschko?) scoring the bout 30-28 for the local fighter, despite the fact that Ainscough had been knocked down.

The remaining quarter-finals saw an energy-sapping fight, 40 year-old former world champion Robin Reid was soundly outworked by the younger, hungrier (and the nephew of Enzo Maccarinelli) Tobias Webb. Bull-like Jahmaine Smyle used his superior strength and aggression to edge out a split decision over bookies’ favourite Carl Dilks, in the last of the quarter-finals.

Semi-finals

The all-Liverpool semi-final saw brave Joe Ainscough cop quite the battering from Rocky Fielding, and was stopped in the first, after suffering two nasty cuts over each eye.

Nine minutes of fighting had never seemed so long, in what was a gruelling second semi-final between Tobias Webb and Jahmaine Smyle. Webb boxed superbly in the opener, having more than enough snap in his punches to keep the pressure-fighting powerhouse at arms length. As the second round wore on, Smyle’s strength started to make Webb’s walk to the final an awful lot harder than he would’ve liked. Despite shipping some serious leather, Smyle continued to walk down the Welshman, but it was all in vain, as Webb’s skill and temperament proved sufficient to outpoint his game opponent.

The Final
Webb’s wars to reach the final had prompted the bookies to place Fielding as the betting favourite to take the final, as the local lad had yet to complete three rounds throughout the evening, and was therefore the fresher of the two.

It was difficult to see who was gaining the upper hand in the early exchanges, but Fielding’s work had the sharper look about it in the latter stages of the opening session. Not long after Sky broadcaster Jim Watt commented on Feilding’s open stance, the rangy Scouser clipped Webb with a left hook that – after a delay – took all of the fight from Webb. The Swansea boxer-puncher took a knee and an eight-count, but as he rose to his feet it was clear that Webb had hit a wall, and would do well to survive the seconds that remained in the round. When the referee instructed the combatants to resume hostilities, Webb covered up and took two punches on the gloves, but such was his condition, the Welshman could do little more than crumple up in a heap on the canvas.

Webb beat the count again, as the bell rang for the end of the first. However the minute on the stool would not be enough to revitalise Webb to emerge for the next round, and the contest was waved off, amid jubilant scenes in the opposite corner and the Liverpool crowd in attendance.

Given Fielding’s professional slate (now 6-0, 3 KO), it is unlikely that he’ll be pushed into title contention already. A rematch between the two finalists over a longer distance however, could attract some interest as a chief supporting contest on a decent domestic-level card.

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