Heavyweight Prizefighter Recap: Michael Sprott emerges victorious!

by Geoffrey Ciani - Tonight’s heavyweight Prizefighter provided a great night of boxing for fight fans. The eight man tournament consisted of seven three round fights. Michael Sprott came out on top this year after scoring three decision victories. He defeated Matt Skelton in the finals, which reversed two earlier career losses he suffered at the hands of his older foe.

Heavyweight contender Audley Harrison (27-4, 20 KOs) won last year’s edition of the contest which enabled him to revive his career. This enabled him to get into position where he is now challenging WBA heavyweight champion David Haye (24-1, 22 KOs). Sprott is hoping this victory can provide him with a similar bounce to propel him back into the limelight for another shot at glory.

Here is a brief recap of tonight’s bouts on Prizefighter:

Matt Skelton (23-5, 20 KOs)
vs. Ali Adams (9-2-1, 3 KOs)

Round 1, Fight 1
Matt Skelton effectively crowded Ali Adams from the onset while mauling him on the inside. The first two rounds were highlighted by some nice right hands from Skelton. Adams looked confused and was unable to establish his range. In the third round, Adams finally was able to create some distance and started using his jab. His success was short-lived, however, and Skelton was still able to apply pressure, close the distance, and score with right hands.
RESULT: Matt Skelton UD: 30-27, 30-27, 29-28

Kevin McBride (34-7-1, 29 KOs)
vs. Franklin Egobi (15-3, 10 KOs)

Round 1, Fight 2
Egobi started the fight moving well and working behind a nice jab while McBride slowly plodded after him. In the second round, Egobi got away from what was working and McBride closed the distance. This enabled McBride to land some nice clubbing shots highlighted by a big right hand which wobbled Egobi. McBride appeared winded in the corner. In the final round, Egobi got back to his jab and was more effective, but McBride still had his moments. It was a close round that was difficult to score and could have gone either way.
RESULT: Kevin McBride SD: 28-29, 29-28, 29-28

Declan Timlin (7-0, 4 KOs)
vs. Shane McPhilbin (2-1, 2 KOs)

Round 1, Fight 3
McPhilbin stormed out and landed a big shot which immediately got Timlin’s attention. McPhilbin proceeded to outwork Timlin in the opening round while unleashing a nice variety of combinations that utilized sharp crisp punches. In the second, McPhilbin picked up where he left off and he dropped Timlin with a tremendous left hook. Timlin rose to his feet on uneasy legs and McPhilbin jumped on him prompting the referee to stop the contest.
RESULT: Shane McPhilbin TKO2

Michael Sprott (32-15, 17 KOs)
vs. Danny Hughes (7-1-2, 2 KOs)

Round 1, Fight 4
In round one Michael Sprott utilized his superior speed and boxing ability to take control early. Hughes was trying to establish his jab, without much effect, while Sprott scored while darting in-and-out. The second round started with an explosion of fireworks as both fighters had a nice exchange. An accidental clash of heads caused a cut on the right eye of Hughes. Sprott landed a great left hook that appeared to drop Hughes, but it was not ruled a knockdown. Sprott resumed control and thoroughly outclassed his much slower foe as he coasted to victory.
RESULT: Michael Sprott UD: 30, 27, 30-27, 30-27

Matt Skelton (24-5, 20 KOs)
vs. Kevin McBride (35-7-1, 29 KOs)

Semi-Finals, Fight 5
This fight started ugly where both fighters showed more in the art of clinching and holding than boxing. Skelton had the quicker hands on the inside, but McBride did some good body work in a round that was difficult to score. McBride landed a terrific counter right in the middle of a Skelton flurry in the second. Strangely enough, the referee started counting and then inexplicably stopped. No knockdown was ruled, despite the fact McBride landed a beautiful shot. Skelton appeared hurt and his legs seemed to betray him as a confident McBride battered him with slow clubbing shots. In round three, there was more infighting and clinching. Skelton landed a nice punch that got McBride’s attention. It was an ugly fight that probably could have gone either way, and should have at least been a draw were it known for the blown call by the referee. Had the bout resulted in a draw, McBride could have had a chance to advance.
RESULT: Matt Skelton UD: 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

Michael Sprott (33-15, 17 KOs)
vs. Shane McPhilbin (3-1, 3 KOs)

Semi-Finals, Fight 6
Sprott jumped out to an early lead against McPhilbin and never looked back. The first round was highlighted by a beautiful left hook from Sprott that shook his less experienced foe. Sprott continued his dominance in the second. He was able to land his jab consistently from the outside, and when on the inside he smothered McPhilbin’s punches. McPhilbin was simply unable to get anything going and to establish any sort of rhythm. Sprott maintained control in the final stanza. It was not the most exciting bout of the night, but Sprotts displayed great speed and good skills.
RESULT: Michael Sprott UD: 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

Matt Skelton (25-5, 20 KOs)
vs. Michael Sprott (34-15, 17 KOs)

Finals, Fight 7
Sprott did the better work in round one. He was able to maintain his distance and keep Skelton at range with his jab. A nice left hook appeared to stun Skelton who was unable to attack effectively. Skelton began closing the distance better in round two, but he was still unable to muster much offense, and Skelton was still landing the cleaner blows. At the start of round three, the two did battle in close quarters and Skelton finally showed signs of life. Sprott regained control when he reestablished his jab and controlled the range. Skelton finished up strong by landing some nice leather on the inside. The final two rounds were not easy to score, but for the most part Sprott seemed to do the better overall work.
RESULT: Michael Sprott UD: 29-28, 28-29, 29-28


After the event was over, I had a chance to catch up with On the Ropes Boxing Radio Hostess Jenna J, who stated, “I think Americans promoters should take notice of the Prizefighter type format, because it has the potential to succeed where the Super Six has failed”.

Who could argue with that?

After all, the Super Six was once the hottest thing in boxing. It had the best super middleweights in the world consistently squaring off against each other. Unfortunately, various problems have caused setbacks and going into Group Stage 3, only three of the original six participants now remain. The tournament has been long and drawn out, and as a result fans have become frustrated and started to lose interest. Perhaps the Super Six was a bit too ambitious for its own good.

Tonight’s Prizefighter produced seven entertaining fights that spanned almost three hours. It was a fun night of boxing, and it utilized a clever format with crowd pleasing appeal. To echo the sentiments of my colleague Jenna J, more Prizefighter tournaments would be good for boxing.

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Article posted on 10.10.2010

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