UK Boxing: Prizefighter Moves to Excel; George Groves; Bobby Ward

THE HUGELY successful Prizefighter event, scheduled for Friday 2nd October and featuring the cream of British heavyweights, will now take place at ExCel, London following unprecedented demand for tickets. Originally slated for the York Hall, Bethnal Green, the competition featuring the likes of Danny Williams, Audley Harrison and Michael Sprott, sold out its 1,100 capacity within 48 hours of going on sale. In addition a waiting list has been created running into several hundred..

With a total of seven 3 x 3 minute round fights, Prizefighter’s explosive all-in-one-night concept goes from strength to strength, with Heavyweights III featuring some of British boxing’s biggest names.

There is £32,000 out of a total purse of £80,000 going to the winner as well as a glorious opportunity to use Prizefighter as a launch pad for a world title shot.

“We felt that a sold out York Hall would create a superb atmosphere for what is the most high profile Prizefighter yet, but with the unprecedented demand it was only fair to give everyone a chance to be at what will be boxing’s night of the year” said promoter Barry Hearn.

“We’re looking to go up to 5,000 seats at the ExCel and with the way tickets have been flying out the door, I am anticipating a sell-out.”

Taking part in Prizefighter are Danny Williams, Audley Harrison, Michael Sprott, Scott Gammer, Michael Holden, Coleman Barrett, Danny Hughes and Scott Belshaw.

Notes: Matchroom Sport are one of the world’s leading producers of televised sport and are responsible for over 1,100 hours of original programming across a range of nine sports. Based in the UK and chaired by charismatic founder Barry Hearn, Prizefighter is the latest exciting initiative from the company that has been promoting British, European and World title fights for over 20 years.

Tickets cost £40 and £80 and are available from Matchroom Sport on +44 1277 359900.

George Groves returns to action at HAYEMAKER 10

Hot Hammersmith super-middleweight George Groves makes a return to competitive action on Sunday, October 4th, as he headlines HAYEMAKER 10 from Bethnal Green’s historic York Hall.

Out of the ring since April, Londoner Groves will face an opponent soon to be announced at one of his favourite British boxing venues. Fighting for the second time as a pro in his home city, Groves is eager to put on a career-best performance.

“I was gutted about not boxing on the (cancelled) July 4th show in Liverpool and it feels like it’s been ages since I’ve been in the ring,” admits Groves, 4-0 (3 KO) as a hard-hitting super-middleweight prospect.

“It’s now the new season and I can’t wait to get back and fight in London again. I’m chuffed to be boxing at the York Hall and am eager to kick off the new season with a bang.”

Nicknamed ‘The Saint’, Groves’ last two pro outings have exhibited the devilish intent the former two-time ABA champion possesses. He blitzed Welsh veteran Paul Samuels inside a round in March and then followed up with a similarly explosive dismantling of unbeaten Sandor Polgar in April.

Still only 21 years of age, Groves now craves even bigger tests.

“After this fight in October, I’ll be looking to fight someone with a big name – someone that will allow me to make a statement,” he says.

“My best opponent so far is Samuels and I want an even bigger step up than him before the end of the year. I was a two-bout novice going in against a former title challenger in Samuels, but now I’m looking for the next step. We’ve had all summer to look at possible opponents and I’m ready for whoever it is we decide on.”

While Groves has had to patiently wait for pro bout number five, the ambitious puncher has done plenty of priceless learning in various gyms around Europe.

“I’ve been treating my sparring sessions as if they’re real fights and that has meant that all the sparring I’ve been doing has been super-competitive,” explains Groves, who will soon venture to Italy to spar Silvio Branco ahead of his WBC light-heavyweight title shot.

“I’ve been sparring all around Europe and in most cases have been sparring as soon as I jump off the plane. I’ve not been 100% like I would be for a fight and that makes the sparring, in a way, harder than most of the fights I will have for the first couple of years as a pro.

“I’m also sparring world champions, European champions and number one contenders, so these guys are at the top of the sport. Sparring fighters like that can only bring you on leaps and bounds.

“I’ll now be going into future fights knowing that I’ve shared sparring sessions with better fighters than my opponent. My next opponent is not going to be any better than someone like Carl Froch, Giacobbe Fragomeni, Domenico Spada or Silvio Branco – I’m pretty sure of that. If he is – bring it on.”

Ward set for Saturday Night “Boogaloo”

Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward admits that sibling rivalry is driving him to succeed in the pro ranks. Ward is the oldest of three boxing brothers and the first of them to turn professional. The 22-year-old from Romford will have his third pro fight at the Watford Colosseum on Saturday night when he meets Steve Gethin, a veteran of 62 pro fights who himself comes from a family of boxing brothers.

Their super featherweight contest features on the undercard of a Hennessy Sports event which is headlined by the clash between Commonwealth welterweight champ John O’Donnell and upset specialist Tom Glover.

The card is live on ITV4’s Big Fight Live from 7.35pm on Saturday and Ward will be looking to extend his unbeaten run in the pro ranks. The former Repton club man enjoyed a successful amateur career which included a win over Amir Khan in an English Schoolboy final. However he drifted from the sport for several years before returning to the gym late last year after being inspired by the successes of his younger brothers in the amateur ranks.

“I was out of boxing for 5 years and during that time I got married and had a couple of kids so I had to put supporting my family ahead of my boxing,” explained Ward.

“We’re a big boxing family and my younger brother Martin and John have been doing exceptionally well. Martin’s only just turned 18 and he won Gold at the European Youths Championships in Poland last month. He’s targeting the London Olympics and I think he can go all the way. John is doing really well too and he’s another big prospect for the future so seeing them come up through the ranks really got me hungry for the sport again.

“I didn’t see any point in going back to the amateurs so I decided to turn pro and I’m really enjoying it right now. I’m training with Tony Sims at his gym in Hainault and physically the training is very demanding but I’m enjoying it and you have to put the work in to get the results out.”

Should Ward get past Gethin unscathed there is a strong possibility that his next outing could come in Ireland later this month on a massive night of boxing in Dublin. Irish hero Bernard Dunne will defend his WBA World title at The O2 on September 26th and Ward is being lined up for a slot on the undercard.

Ward’s promoter Mick Hennessy revealed, “I know that Bobby actually won a couple of Irish titles at underage level as an amateur when he lived over there. I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen of him so far as a pro and I think the Irish fans would love his style so it would be great opportunity for him to fight over there on a big World title bill.

“Bobby’s eligible to fight for the Irish title as well as the British title so that’s something we can look at for him when his career is a little further down the road.”

John O’Donnell’s clash with Tom Glover tops the bill at the Watford Colosseum with the undercard also featuring unbeaten prospects Steve O’Meara and Ward’s gym mate Bradley Evans. Sheffield prospects Richard Towers and Kid Galahad (subject to board approval) are also in action alongside exciting puncher Yassine “The Showman” El Maachi also features. Tickets priced £35, £40 and £75 are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via