Boxing

Coronation Street star Steve Bell to fight in Prizefighter

Coronation Street actor Steve Bell is swapping the cobbled streets of Weatherfield for the boxing ring as he aims to win the Prizefighter Super-Featherweight tournament on Saturday November 20.

The Manchester fighter joins a strong line-up from Britain’s hottest weight division live on Sky Sports at York Hall, Bethnal Green, and he is convinced that he has the goods to claim the title.

“I don't care who I fight, I'll have to fight three good boxers to lift that trophy but that's what I want to do,” said the 35 year-old. “I love getting the trophies, the last was as an amateur and it's a great feeling - yes, there's a good chunk of money too but the trophy and the title of Prizefighter champion is what appeals to me. I need to win it first and concentrate on training to get there but there's no doubt that Prizefighter is a great platform and that's why I am here - I always said I'd return to do this.”

Bell was ringside at York Hall for the last Prizefighter event, witnessing Michael Sprott claim the Heavyweights IV title in front of a sold-out crowd in east London, a night where the 18-2-2 fighter said he picked up some good tips to come out on top in the 15th edition of Barry Hearn’s eight-man, one night tournament.

“It's quick and you have to be on the ball from round one,” said Bell. “It's so different from your standard professional fight – you are used to training for a 12 round war so with Prizefighter you are going from marathon training to sprint. The heavyweights aren't really a good example as they are big lads so it's hard for them to get up to a sprint but it was good to be at the last one and I certainly picked up a few things about conditioning on the night.”

Bell captained the English boxing team in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and fought over 150 times as an amateur – so the three-three’s format appears to be perfect for him: “I'm probably better known for my amateur career and that is definitely my style of fighting. A lot of amateurs find it tough to go to professional and change their game, but I found that I was more successful with the amateur style so it's a case for me of reverting back to that in training.”

Days after taking on John Simpson for the Commonwealth title last December, Bell began filming for Coronation Street, taking the role of soldier Quinny and appearing in a dozen episodes since, with his storyline set to unravel after he appears at York Hall. Bell began his acting career in 1998 alongside rock legend Roger Daltrey in the feature film Like It Is. He then hit the small screen with appearances in Shameless, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale and Jimmy McGovern’s The Street – and he will appear in McGovern’s BBC1 daytime show Moving On in November. But while a good showing on the night is sure to boost his profile, he insists he is fully focused on Prizefighter success.

“I'm not doing this to push my acting career - I don't think that this would help that in any way, boxing is something that I love and it's been part of my life for the last 20 years - and of course I think I can win it,” said Bell. “I believe I will forge an acting career whether I win this or not and I've been lucky that when I've not been acting I've had the boxing and vice-versa, at the minute I've got a bit of a break in the acting so bring on Prizefighter.”

Two further fighters have been added to the bill alongside the Mancunian hitter – Scotsman Gary McArthur, who was a beaten semi-finalist in the Prizefighter Lightweight night in Glasgow in March 2009 and Derry Matthews, who has scores to settle with two other fighters in the line-up. The Liverpudlian is undefeated in the two fights he’s had since retiring in 2009 after losing to Scott Lawton, and in 2008 he lost his WBU Featherweight title to a fifth round knockout by Choi Tseveenpurev. Lawton and Choi were among the first four fighters to be named for the night, with 24 year-old Gary Buckland and Northern Irishman Kevin O’Hara – the eighth and final fighter in the line-up will be announced shortly.

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

Article posted on 22.10.2010



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