Luton’s lightweight prospect, Michael Devine 11(3)-1(1)-1 will be entering into the illustrious Prizefighter Tournament televised live on Sky Sports on December 6th at London’s York Hall.
Previous Prizefighter winner, Gary Buckland 28(9)-5-2 and former European super-featherweight champion, Stephen Foster Jnr. 33(19)-5(2)-1 lead the line-up for the Prizefighter Lightweights III with Martin J. Ward 10(5)-0-1 facing Maxi Hughes 13(2)-1-1 also on the show in an eliminator for the BBBofC British super-featherweight title.
This will be the 34th instalment of the successful series that has featured 14 different weight divisions over the six years, masterminded by Eddie Hearn.
The 25-year-old, nicknamed ‘Chunky’, said of the opportunity, “We’ve talked about doing Prizefighter before and Eddie’s matchmaker called us so we accepted immediately. I was considering the light welterweight one where Danny Connor ended up in the final. The toughness and the format of the tournament will suit me, I can stand there and have a war, I can punch, and I can box – I can be versatile to suit whoever is in front of me.”
On receiving the phone call from Matchroom, Devine had to keep it under wraps until it was officially confirmed just a few days later, “I couldn’t tell anyone at first but I was over the moon. I stepped up my training immediately and contacted a nutritionist to do it all right with my weight. I’m also staying away so I can concentrate. I’ll be away from my missus and everyone, still in Luton but just away so that I can concentrate.”
The 5ft 8” lightweight boxer has already altered the training routines that he is so used to in preparation to suit the Prizefighter arrangement. “I’ve been sparring in the Prizefighter format so to jump in and do three to four rounds then jump out and come back in again later. I’ve changed my long runs to sprints and there’s lots of strength and conditioning training involved.”
The previous Prizefighter winners of the lightweight series have progressed on to greater fights and prizes such as the newly crowned British lightweight champion, Terry Flanagan 25(9)-0-0, the winner of Prizefighter Lightweights II back in July 2013. The Mancunian Prizefighter winner remains unbeaten and challenges Stephen Ormond for the WBO European strap on 24th November at the Hilton Hotel, Mayfair.
Devine, a two-weight champion, said, “Obviously I’ve seen what the other winners have gone on to do – bigger things and bigger opportunities. The money is great at £32k but I’m looking for the opportunity to fight for bigger titles and to box on the biggest stage. The prize money is secondary to me, I want to stop fighting on ticket deals and start fighting on Sky.”
Michael is determined to follow in the footsteps of former Luton champions, Billy Schwer and Graham Earl in bringing glory back to the Bedfordshire town.
After winning his first three bouts in the pro-circuit Devine was involved in an all-action war with Mark Alexander 11(2)-6(2)-0 on his 21st birthday in April 2010 which resulted in the one and only blemish upon his professional record.
The following two years, 2011 and 2012, saw the return of Devine with five victories and a deserved reward with a new long-term promotional contract with Goodwin Promotions.
A further reward saw Devine in the mix for his first title shot on 9th March against Dan Naylor 4-18(1)-2 at York Hall, Bethnal Green winning on points and collecting the BBBofC Southern Area super-featherweight title in the process.
Devine returned to the ring in March 2014 after an entire years absence, due to injuries, against Alec Bazza 0-6(2)-1 winning again on points.
June 7th was the date for his next outing and the Southern Area title-holder was aiming to become a two-weight champion as he stepped up to lightweight to take on the durable Georgian, Tornike Tortladze 5(1)-4-1 and won every round of the contest knocking his foe down in the penultimate round as he picked up the vacant International Masters Silver lightweight title.
Devine’s next fight and last fight to date was against trash-talking Prizefighter finalist, Danny ‘Cassius’ Connor 11-8(1)-2 for the vacant British Masters Gold lightweight title.
Despite concerns, Connor made the weight limit with ease, as he competed at lightweight for the first time in his career, and the stage was set for a tasty domestic dust-up which had many a boxing fan excited and eager to witness.
In just the second round, as the fight was beginning to get going, an accidental clash of heads saw Connor cut terribly over the right eye resulting in a halt to the contest with referee Robert Williams ruling as a Technical Draw.
To further add to the anticipation of the event, Connor is also appearing in the same Prizefighter Tournament in December with the potential for the two foes to clash once again and settle unfinished business. Other fighters confirmed on the show are lightweights Floyd Moore 10(7)-5(3)-1 and Lee Martin 6-1(1)-0.
Devine stated, “I’m 25-years-old, I’ve had a hard boxing career, to be fair, to go out and sell tickets, some bad injuries and boxed for nothing at times. I had a good chance against Danny Connor that ended badly so this is really my chance to show my capability and how much heart I’ve got.”
The show is likely to be a sell-out with tickets available now from Team Chunky, “Everyone can get hold of me directly for tickets on Twitter and Facebook,” said Devine.
“Come to show because it’s like nothing else you will ever have seen before, the atmosphere is electric – witness it for yourself.”