Prizefighter: Butler gets fighting spirit from his Army brothers; Hillyard seeks crown for his son

boxingDanny Butler is being inspired to win the Prizefighter Light-Middleweights this Friday by the fighting spirit of his brothers, who are serving with the Army in Afghanistan. Butler, who backs the Help for Heroes charity, has two brothers – Adam and Martin – serving in the Army and says he will give the charity a portion of the £32,000 winning prize if he triumphs in the tenth Prizefighter competition at the York Hall in Bethnal Green. The Bristol boxer, who is stepping down a division for his second Prizefighter, says he wants to win the knockout competition for brother Adam, who is currently serving in Afghanistan.

He said: “If I win Prizefighter I will donate some of the money to Help for Heroes, which is a great charity which I support.

“I’ve got two brothers who have been out in Afghanistan.

One of them, Martin, has only recently got back and the other, Adam, is still out there.

“It makes me want to do it even more that Adam is out there, I want to win it for him..

“They are the real heroes, not me. Two of my four brothers have served in Afghanistan and that’s totally different to boxing, which is a dangerous sport but they have got people trying to kill them.

“When I get nervous before a fight I just think what they have to go through, which is much worse. Thinking of them gives me inspiration.”

Butler, 22, had a busy 2009, boxing five times and challenging for British, Commonwealth and English middleweight titles. The Bristol boxer has dropped down a division for his second Prizefighter, having reached the semi-final of Prizefighter Middleweights in November 2008. Butler lost a split points decision to eventual winner Martin Murray after an excellent bout, but he feels the experience of boxing in a previous Prizefighter will give him an edge tonight.

He said: “I know the format and how to box it because I was in the middleweight one and the will only help me.

“I’ve experienced the waiting in between fights, sharing the same dressing room as your opponents. They are little things but I’ve got the experience of them and it will give me a bit of an edge. I did well last time; the fight against Martin Murray could have gone either way and he went on to win the Prizefighter Middleweights.”

Defeat to Murray ended Butler’s unbeaten start to his pro career but he quickly regrouped and last March out-pointed Plymouth’s Carl Drake 98-93 over ten rounds to win the Western Area middleweight title. He picked up the British Masters belt for another ten round decision, this time 98-94 over Paul Samuels, in July.

But Butler’s last two fights have been title defeats. The Bristol boxer first challenged Dudley’s Darren McDermott for the English title in November. McDermott was cut early on but managed to floor Butler in the fifth with a right uppercut. The knockdown proved decisive as McDermott triumphed by 96-95 on the referee’s ten round points score.

Despite the defeat, Butler found himself challenging Darren Barker for the vacant British and Commonwealth middleweight titles two weeks later. He stepped in as a replacement for Wayne Elcock just days before the bout. Barker, however, was too much for Butler, who was stopped in the seventh.

He added: “I gained a lot of experience from those two fights.”

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.

Hillyard seeks Prizefighter crown for his son

George Hillyard is trying to win the Prizefighter Light-Middleweights (Friday, 26 February) so he can continuing paying for treatment for his partially blind son.

The Canning Town boxer admits his ring career has suffered due to family matters but sees winning the Prizefighter at the York Hall in Bethnal Green as the perfect way to establish himself as a serious contender for British and Commonwealth titles.

Hillyard, 25, had to pull out of boxing in the Prizefighter Welterweight tournament in October 2008 after failing to make the weight and was stopped by Matthew Thirlwall in his last fight in May.

But Hillyard is highly motivated to do well in Prizefighter with £32,000 on offer if he can win each of his three, three-round bouts in the eight-man competition on one night.

He said: “I’ve had some personal problems which have not helped my boxing and it was a factor in me not making the weight for the last Prizefighter I was in.

“My little boy Oscar was born blind and it has been difficult for me and my partner Karly to cope with it all because he needs a lot of treatment.

“He was born with cataracts on the eye and is still partially blind. We have to go to Great Ormond Street Hospital with him a lot and it’s costing us £600 a month in travel from Essex.

“I was taking fights at short notice to pay for it all and it didn’t do my boxing career any good but obviously I had to do it.

“If I win the Prizefighter I will spend it all on getting the treatment for my little boy Oscar. It has been hard for me and my family but we are coming through it.

“He had an operation only last week and he’s got another one on March 29th so hopefully it will improve. If I win this I can give him more opportunities and if we need anything I can pay for it to get it done.”

The fourth round defeat to Thirlwall ended a four-fight winning streak for Hillyard, who has won five of his nine fights by stoppage. Hillyard was out of the ring for nearly a year before he fought Thirlwall.

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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