Former cruiserweight world title challenger Mark Prince continued his comeback on Saturday night when he demolished Latvian Olegs Lopajevs in the first round at a lively Acourtier event at the legendary York Hall venue in East London.
Although the event was less high profile than the shows in Glasgow, Germany and the US which all had world title fights, the evening was packed with all the boxing related drama you could wish for.
Seasoned pro Mark Prince was the headline act and he showed real class when he took centre stage. The Londoner, who has called his comeback the ‘Return Of The Prince’, was actually taking part in his second bout after being absent from the ring for 14 years.
Prince ended the contest in the first round when he knocked down his Latvian opponent three times in quick succession. The cruiserweight looked in fantastic condition and was very comfortable against a challenger leagues below him in skill.
The North Londoner took the mic after the contest to highlight the work he is doing with youths and to appeal to the BBBofC to re-issue him with a licence. If Prince is allowed to fight for national titles again he could be in with a shout before the year is out.
Although the venue wasn’t quite full all the London-based boxers brought plenty of their own supporters. The Ozgul brothers, who fans seemed to have taken over a whole corner of York Hall, both won.
Siar Ozgul recorded his third victory from three fight and showed some real flair and potential. Onder Ozgul won clearly in the end but he was caught several times during the four round fight by a tall and awkward opponent.
Most of the home crowd fighters faced visiting boxers from Lithuania and Latvia. All of these unfamiliar opponents showed great heart and sportsmanship, and some brought some real skill.
In one of the closest and most action packed bouts, middleweight George Hillyard faced off against Kirill Psonko. After Canning Town man had probably done enough to be edging the bout he got caught with a overhand right in the sixth and final round, and while trying to recover he got tagged a few more times, resulting in a dramatic ko loss.
Suz Member was entering his first professional bout and took on fellow novice Tadas Stulginskas. The young Lithuanian stunned the British welterweight in first round and finished the fight promptly.
Former Team GB amateur star Antonio Counihan was more successful and looked sharp, beating another tough fight over four rounds.
The action wasn’t confined to the ring and the energy in the crowd spilled over a couple of times during the night. On the whole the event was lively and the crowd re-engaged to watch former basketball player Manny Muhammed edge a tight contest.
Acourtier Events boss Dave Murphy wasn’t at the event last night because his wife is in hospital. I would like to echo the wishes that were expressed at the show and hope she gets well soon.
By Matt Gipon