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9th October 2010, York Hall London

By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro


The big bangers were back in town, at the York Hall, London, on Saturday night for the highly anticipated Prizefighter - Heavyweights 4 and there wasn’t much surprise when bookies favourites Matt Skelton and Michael Sprott met in the final.
Prior to the old foes battling each other for the third time in their careers, there were six top class bouts. So without further ado here’s a recap of the action and drama, oh and a little controversy, that preceded the final of Prizefighter - Heavyweights 4.


Adams came out hard and fast, opening up with a flurry of powerful shots, only for Skelton to retaliate with a massive right hand and uppercut to slow the London based Iraqi. For the next two rounds Skelton showed his well earned pedigree by chasing down Adams, stifling any attempt to land any meaningful punches.

Following a severe reprimand from his corner men, Johnny Eames and Jimmy Tibbs, Adams finally switched tactics in the third and did what he is so good at, Boxing smart - moving in, let rip with a lightning fast jab and then getting out. Adams almost immediately took control and landed some meaningful punches, and in my eyes, and that of one of the judges, won the round. 

I can’t help but think if Adams had used these tactics, instead of going to war with Skelton early, the final result could easily have been reversed, but he didn’t and the result was a unanimous 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 decision in favour of Bedford’s Matt Skelton.

Whilst the pace was not quite a frenetic as the previous bout big Kevin McBride and Franklin Egobi still gave the fans their moneys worth. 

Throughout the first round both fighters seemed to have the same fight plan, keep on the inside and don’t give the other any opening for a big shot, which lead to a lot of slow action and plenty of holding.  Egobi landed the most telling punches, including a couple of wicked hooks that shook the big Irishman to the core, to secure the round.

Round two see McBride using his substantial weight advantage to good effect, constantly leaning on, and pushing, Egobi whilst pumping in short sharp hooks to the body and head. An explosive burst by McBride, culminating in a heavy 1-2 combination, got the lively crowd on their feat and was the clear highlight of the round.

Round three was lot like the first except this time McBride was far more aggressive, often pushing the Nigerian back on the ropes and unsuccessfully trying to get some combinations flowing. 

The big Irishman progressed to the semi’s with a split decision; The judges scorecards read 29-28 twice for McBride and the other judge seeing it, by the same score, for Egobi.

altShane McPhilbin may have been the smallest and least experienced fighter on the card, although you wouldn’t have thought it based on his superb performance against the previously unbeaten Declan Timlin.

Right from the opening bell McPhilbin took the fight to Timlin, working his immaculate jab to high effect. The Irishman was clearly in trouble and just couldn’t keep the Yorkshire Terrier like McPhilbin at bay, quite early on Timlin started grabbing and holding to nullify the constant attacks. With his vociferous fans cheering him on McPhilbin just shrugged the hapless Timlin aside to unload with both hands. Following another Timlin holding session the crowd, as one, roared as  McPhilbin let rip with a massive hook, that wobbled the Irishman, followed up by a series of Jabs and big right hands.

The decibel levels rose to a deafening level as the pair came out for the second round, McPhilbin, being driven forward by a wave of chants, went straight on the attack and around the twenty second mark sent Timlin to the deck with a vicious left hook. The Irishman made the count and was instantly set upon by McPhilbin with a heavy handed flurry that had him reeling. The referee, John Murray, jumped in to save Timlin from going down for the second time with just 51 seconds on the clock. 


Round one see Sprott dominate the scoring with a masterful boxing display, landing powerful right hands time after time. Hughes though would retaliate with heavy rights of his own as Sprott came flying in with wild swings.

In the second the baying crowd were whipped to a frenzy by the frantic whirlwind of action that followed a wild left hook from Sprott that clipped the Sunderland fighter. The Berkshire banshee went totally berserk in his eagerness to finish the fight off letting rip with wild flurries which forced the referee to jump in to separate the pair, and in doing so pushing Sprott across the ring and onto the deck.  Hughes emerged with blood pouring from a bad cut above his right eye but was able to continue.

Round three see more of the same with Sprott targeting the cut eye often. Hughes showed his mettle though and landed some good shots of his own in between the wild swinging attacks from Sprott.

The judges were unanimous in their scoring 30-27 in favour of Reading’s Michael Sprott.

altSkelton-McBride was an ugly, brutal and highly controversial affair. Both fighters seemed content to clinch and hold, well at least for the first round, which was a very hard round to score as neither landed any significant punches. 

Round two on the other hand was very easy to score, 10-8 for McBride, or should have been as Skelton was sent to the deck by a beautiful right hook which for some inexplicable reason the referee decided not to rule as a knockdown. McBride sensed an early finish was on the cards continued to attack the visibly shaken Skelton, letting off a series of hard body shots and vicious hooks.

McBride started the third round aggressively, Skelton responded with some solid right hands. Both fought hard at times, mixing it up at close quarters with heavy body shots, in-between the incessant clinches. 

In my view McBride pipped the scoring anyway, even without the knockdown, and should have progressed to the final. However all three judges see the fight as 29-28 for Skelton.

Shane McPhilbin fought his heart out in vein against the far more experienced Michael Sprott in the second semi-final.  The game McPhilbin was under pressure from the start with Sprott launching wild flaying attack time after time. The youngster is one tough cookie though and withstood everything Sprott threw at him, even getting limited success with wild attacks of his own.
After three hard fought rounds Sprott, who landed the more meaningful punches, was declared the victor by unanimous 30-27 decision.



Just moments before the highly anticipated third career meeting, of Matt Skelton and Michael Sprott, in the final  of Prizefighter - Heavyweights 4 the ubiquitous Black Eyed Peas anthem blares from the sound system sending the already highly vocal York Hall crowd into a frenzy.

The decibel level rose another notch as the MC introduced the two protagonists, and another notch again as the opening bell rang.

Right from the bell the pair locked horns in a toe-to-toe close quarter battle, neither willing to concede an inch of ground or present the other an opportunity to strike. Even so Sprott managed did manage at times to get some distance and keep the advancing Skelton at bay with firm jabs and secured the round with a beautiful hook that momentarily stunned Skelton.

Skelton did get more success in the second but was still unable to contain the more aggressive Sprott who had been landing more effective shots throughout.

altSkelton started to get the upper hand in the third, efficiently working on the inside with vicious uppercuts and hooks to Sprott’s body. As the round progressed Sprott temporarily regained control with his jab to keep Skelton at bay.  In the dying moments Skelton mounted one last concerted close quarter attack to try and snatch the round and possible tournament victory.

The crowd waited, would it be Skelton’s third successive victory over Sprott  or had Sprott finally defeated his old foe. The answer was the later Reading’s Michael Sprott emerged the Prizefighter - Heavyweights 4 tournament victor by a 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 split decision

Up next in the Prizefighter series is the Super Featherweights which will be on Saturday 20th November.

Photo Credits: Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro