By James Slater:Tonight at a packed out York Hall, Bethnal Green in the nation’s capitol, “Mongolian Warrior” Choi Tseveenpurev became the oldest man to win “Prizefighter” – the 40-year-old picking up the featherweight trophy and the £32 grand that comes with it.
An amazing story, Choi, possessing a physique and stamina befitting men many years his junior, punched, bullied and forced his way to victory in a “Prizefighter” that has to rank amongst the very best of the 22 events that have now taken place. Choi’s win tonight must feel even sweeter to him and his many supporters because of the fact that he came up short in a previous, 2010 attempt at winning the popular tournament; losing to Derry Matthews in his second fight at super-featherweight.
Dropping down to featherweight proved to be a most successful move for Choi, as Lee Glover, George Jupp and, in the grand final, Rhys Roberts found out to their cost.
In his first bout, the first fight of the evening, Choi proved way too strong and experienced for the unbeaten Lee Glover (6-2 coming in). Choi was all over Glover in the 1st-round, scoring a knockdown with his powerful right hand to the head. Another right upstairs whipped Glover’s legs away from him in the 2nd, this knockdown prompting the referee to halt the contest.
In his second fight, Choi was made to work much harder, as he was given a run for his money by the tall George Jupp; 3-1 coming in. Jupp made an overanxious Choi miss quite a bit in the 1st, and both men threw a lot of punches.
The 2nd and 3rd-rounds saw the amazing 40-year-old assert his sheer strength and power. Choi had to take some shots, however – a right hand to the head in the 2nd snapping his head back some. The 3rd was a great round of action, but Choi’s volume of punches combined with his desire and experience saw him through to victory. The scores after three absorbing rounds were: 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 again, all for Choi.
The final saw Choi prove way too strong, mentally as well as physically, for the talented Rhys Roberts; 13-1 coming in. The young slickster looked intimidated from the first bell, and Choi exploited this. Basically, although the gifted Roberts threw a few eye-catching shots now and then, Choi out-muscled and out-worked the younger man at every turn.
At times boxing purely to survive, Roberts was outclassed by an unstoppable dynamo. Looking to hold at almost every opportunity, Roberts was unfortunately a disappointment in this fight. Still, Choi deserved his victory, and the grand trophy that went with it.
Choi, now 35-5 (23) feels he can become “the best featherweight in the world,” and after tonight’s springboard of a triumph he may get some bigger fights and a chance to prove his claim down the road. For now, the 40-year-old from Mongolia can enjoy tonight’s impressive win.
Tonight’s results in full:
Fight One: Choi TKO2 Lee Glover
Fight Two: George Jupp TKO2 Lee Jennings
Fight Three: Rhys Roberts W3 Ian Bailey
Fight Four: Troy James W3 Barrington Brown
Fight Five: Choi W3 Jupp
Fight Six: Roberts W3 Bailey
FINAL: Choi W3 Roberts.