Prizefighter Super-Middleweights: Confident Maidenhead fighter to become youngest competitor ever; Tony Salam wins public vote

Patrick Mendy will become the youngest fighter in Prizefighter history when he boxes in the super-middleweights event on June 30 at York Hall, Bethnal Green – the start of a journey he says will take him to a world title. The 19 year-old from Maidenhead has been tipped for big things and got the call up for the latest of Barry Hearn’s eight-man, one night tournaments live on Sky Sports as he travelled to spar with European, British and Commonwealth title winner Nathan Cleverly – great preparation for the hotly-tipped teenager..

“I was on my way [to Wales] when I got the call and I’m so excited to get into Prizefighter and believe me, I am the best fighter in the line-up,” said Mendy, known as ‘The Tiger’. “I train right all the time in the gym and I’m working even harder to be at my peak in two weeks time. I’ve done speed work every day since getting that call and it’s going really well.

“It’s going to be a great night, the biggest of my career so far and I am very confident that I will win,” said the Maidenhead man. “My fights on the night are going to be explosive and the fans will love it, it will be the best night of boxing they will have ever seen because I’m in the ring.”

Mendy has nine fights under his belt since turning pro with five wins and four losses, all on points, including a defeat to great Scottish 2006 Commonwealth gold medallist Kenny Anderson in his last outing in March – but he claims that his record does not reflect his performances in all his fights, and that he could have easily been going into the night unbeaten.

“My record says four defeats but if you saw the fights you would say I won,” said Mendy. “I took the fight against Anderson with three days notice and anyone there would say that I won that fight so my record means little.

“It is great for Maidenhead that I am fighting in Prizefighter,” he added. “I do a lot of work in the community with kids, getting them off the streets and into the gym learning. It’s really important to me and I’m fighting for them and for the area at York Hall.”

Mendy’s path to the top is being led by experienced manager Jim Evans, who is confident he has one of the next big things on his hands and compared him at his age to former Amateur star Errol Christie – and says he has the added element to take him all the way.

“He’s the best 19 year-old I’ve seen since Errol,” said Evans. “The thing about Patrick is he has that little bit of arrogance that all top athletes have to have. I’ve got 30 fighters and he walks with all of them – he spars with Michael Sprott and handles him well and I’m certain he’ll come out on top at Prizefighter.”

With a winner’s cheque of £32,000 up for grabs, the financial gains are vast, but Mendy is focused on making this first step to the peak of boxing.

“I live for boxing and my mission is clear – to become a World Champion and I will achieve it, and that journey can start at Prizefighter,” said Mendy.

Tickets for Prizefighter Super Middleweights are available now at £35 (unreserved), £60 (ringside) and £100 (VIP) – call Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.

Prizefighter Super-Middleweights: Tony Salam wins public vote

‘Sugar’ set for big chance after pipping DeGale and Groves to final spot - TONY ‘Sugar’ Salam has made history by becoming the first boxer to be voted into a Prizefighter event. Londoner Salam, 26, was victorious in the public vote and will now be competing in Prizefighter Super-Middleweights at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, on Wednesday, June 30. “This is why the United Kingdom is the one of the greatest countries on the planet,” said a delighted Salam.

“I had everybody from every race and place voting for me.

“This is the biggest opportunity in my life and I'm going to show the world that I'm the best and most entertaining super-middleweight out there.

“All I have ever wanted is a chance and now I'm taking part in the greatest competition in boxing and I promise all the fans that I will not let them down and will fight with everything I have got.”

Promoters Matchroom Sport threw open the final spot to the public via voting on the official website and more than 5,000 votes were received.

Salam gained more nominations than Olympic gold medalist James DeGale and Commonwealth champion George Groves, while undefeated Welsh fighter Jeff Evans was also well backed.

Salam lives in Stoke Newington in north London and will be backed by a large amount of support at the event, the 13th Prizefighter tournament.

After a glittering amateur career that saw him represent England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and win a British ABA title in 2004, Salam is regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in boxing.

He has fought ten times as a professional with five of his nine victories coming inside the distance, including a triumph over Richard Horton in January 2009 to win the Southern Area belt.

Salam has also beaten some Prizefighter stars including Cruiserweights champion Ovill McKenzie and Nick Okoth, the Cruiserweights II runner-up.

Salam’s manager Spencer Fearon, who led a Facebook campaign to vote for Salam, believes Salam will thrive on June 30th.

"I'm so pleased that the fans have given Tony this chance,” said Fearon.

“Prizefighter is everything that boxing needs and this platform will show just why Tony has been avoided in the past.

“To get more votes than DeGale and Groves shows his popularity and I want to say a big thank you to the voting fans, without them we wouldn’t be in it to win it.”

"The people have spoken and Tony 'Sugar'’ Salam will get his big chance on 30th June at York Hall,” said Matchroom Sport’s Eddie Hearn.

“Prizefighter is all about giving prospects the platform to showcase their skills, heart and determination and the profile that a Prizefighter victory gives you, puts you straight in line for a title shot.'

There are two further changes as Liverpool’s Tony Dodson and Scotland’s Stevie McGuire have both had to withdraw due to struggling to make the weight.

Their replacements will be 19-year-old Patrick Mendy from Reading and Dudley’s ex-Midlands Area champion Sam Horton.

The line-up is Daniel Cadman (Waltham Abbey, Essex), Paul David (Northampton), Peter Federenko (Sheffield), Sam Horton (Dudley), Eddie McIntosh (Birmingham), Patrick Mendy (Reading), Tony Quigley (Liverpool) and Tony Salam (Stoke Newington, London).

Tickets are on sale now and cost £35 (unreserved), £60 (ringside) and £100 (VIP) and are available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.

Article posted on 16.06.2010

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