Prizefighter: Sinclair admits career is on line; Pryce gunning for revenge!

boxingNeil Sinclair admits his 15-year professional career could be over if he is not successful in the Prizefighter Light-Middleweights at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Friday. The Belfast boxer has gone through a renaissance in the last year after two clinical stoppage wins in 2009 but faces 5/2 betting favourite Bradley Pryce in his opening Prizefighter bout. Sinclair, 35, stopped Pryce in the third defence of his British welterweight title in 2003 and regards that win as perhaps the most satisfying of his pro career.

But Welshman Pryce has vowed to ensure there is a different outcome this time, claiming it will be ‘man against old man’ as opposed to ‘man against boy’ like he claims it was in their first encounter. Sinclair will be trying to do the double on Pryce and will then need to win two more three-round bouts if he is to emulate the success of fellow Belfast boxer Martin Rogan, who won the first Prizefighter in April 2008.

Sinclair believes victory will propel him towards big title fights, but defeat would leave him pondering retirement.

“Winning this could open a lot of doors,” said Sinclair, who was forced to pull out of the Prizefighter Welterweights with a back injury in 2008..

“I saw it happen with my mate Martin Rogan. He won the first Prizefighter and then beat the likes of Audley Harrison and won the Commonwelath title and topped the bill at the Odyssey Arena. I will be looking to do the same.

“I had to pull out of the Prizefighter Welterweights because I had a back injury two weeks before, which was very disappointing, so it’s great to get a chance in this again.

“There was talk of a fight between me and John Duddy and it didn’t happen. He’s doing his own thing which is fair enough, and there was also talk of a fight against the European champion Ryan Rhodes. Maybe if I win this it will make that fight happen.

“This is a gamble but it’s one I’ve got to take. I’m not getting any younger and I want to see what I’ve got left. If I can’t do this there’s no point in a European title fight with Ryan.

“I know that next time I lose I might pack it in, but I’m not thinking about losing. I’m not contemplating it but if I was to lose I would have to consider packing up.”

Sinky is just glad to be back in form after admitting he came close to considering retirement after his fortunes nose-dived following his reign as British champion.

He said: “My last two fights have been good and beating Coyle has started a bit of a revival. When I was training for that fight I felt good and it showed in the fight.

“I’m back in Belfast now where I belong training with John Breen and my boxing has got better.

“Beating Pryce meant I kept the Lonsdale belt because it was my third defence and it was probably the best win of my career.

“But after that I went a wee bit stale, got disheartened with the sport and a part of me wanted to pack it in. But I’m glad I listened to people like John Breen who urged me to carry on. Now things are working out for me at light-middleweight.”

Pryce gunning for revenge against 'old man' Sinclair

BRADLEY PRYCE is confident of revenge over Neil Sinclair in the Prizefighter Light-Middleweights quarter-finals at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Friday. Pryce was stopped by Sinclair in the eighth round seven years ago but insists it will be different when the competition’s most experienced pair meet in their opening bout. He said: “Eight days before the Sinclair fight I was asked about it and I was skint, so took it.

“I was in good shape but it was man against boy then. This time it will be different though – it’s going to be man against old boy.

“We might be the most fancied to win with some people because we are the most experienced, we’ve been there and done it and it will be added motivation for me to try and put things right against him. I owe him.”

Pryce is the 5/2 betting favourite with Sky Bet, but the former Commonwealth light-middleweight champion admits he has gambled his career by entering the Prizefighter Light-Middleweights as he tries to emulate his gym-mate Gavin Rees, who won the last Prizefighter event at light-welterweight in December.

Welshman Pryce is trying to rebuild his career after losing the Commonwealth title to Mathew Hall in March by second round stoppage. But Pryce, 28, admits he is not known as a fast starter.

He said “This is a massive gamble for me but you have got to have belief in yourself that you can beat the other seven guys, which I know I can, whether it’s a three rounder or a ten rounder.

“None of these guys would see the last bell with me in a 12-rounder so I’m coming out of my comfort zone. I’m a slow starter, I know that, because I like to come on strong in the later rounds.

“I’ve only stopped one guy inside three rounds in the last seven years – and that was Martin Concepcion who is in this Prizefighter.”

The draw was made live on Sky Sports' Friday Fight Night, which will screen next Friday's sold-out event live from the York Hall, Bethnal Green, London.

PrizeFighter Light-Middleweights


George Hillyard v Prince Arron
Neil Sinclair v Bradley Pryce
Brett Flournoy v Danny Butler
Steve O'Meara v Martin Concepcion


Hillyard/Arron v Sinclair/Pryce
Flournoy/Butler v O'Meara/Concepcion

Followed by Final

Prizefighter Light-Middleweights takes place at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, London on Friday, February 26. The full line-up is Prince Arron (Droylsden, Manchester), Danny Butler (Bristol), Martin Concepcion (Leicester), Brett Flournoy (Birkenhead, Merseyside), George Hillyard (Canning Town), Steve O'Meara (West Drayton, Middlesex), Bradley Pryce (Newbridge, Wales) and Neil Sinclair (Belfast).

Due to increased demand, tickets for Prizefighter Light-Middleweights have sold out. But you can still see all the action live on Sky Sports HD from 8pm next Friday.

Odds to win Prizefighter (as on Friday, February 19 with SkyBet)

5/2 Bradley Pryce
7/2 Prince Arron, Neil Sinclair
5/1 Danny Butler
7/1 Steve O’Meara
12/1 Martin Concepcion
16/1 Brett Flournoy
25/1 George Hillyard

Article posted on 22.02.2010

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