The 17th edition of Prizefighter turned out to be one of the best, with one of the most unlikely winners to date.
Liverpool's Rocky Fielding thrilled his hometown crowd with three straight stoppage victories to win the eight-man tournament, becoming the first winner in Prizefighter history to win all three of his fights inside the distance. Fielding (6-0, 3 KO) only turned pro last September, and was the third choice for his spot. Originally tapped as an alternate for the field, Fielding replaced Kenny Anderson, who himself had replaced Tony Quigley.
Fielding won his first fight against veteran Patrick J. Maxwell in the second round, stopping the aggressive Maxwell in his tracks. In the semifinals, Fielding was matched with Joe Ainscough, and caused two cuts that led to a stoppage in the first round.
In the final, Fielding met Tobias Webb (6-1-1, 0 KO), the nephew of Enzo Maccarinelli. Webb had garnered quite a bit of interest leading into the event, but went through Robin Reid and Jahmaine Smyle over six tough rounds before getting to the final. Fielding, on the other hand, was fresh, confident and bolstered by a crowd that had strongly taken to the local hero. After two first round knockdowns, the exhausted Webb was pulled out of the fight between the first and second rounds.
It's a huge day for Rocky Fielding, not just because of the £32,000 payday or the fact that he won the tournament, but because it puts him in as a prospect to watch. Earlier today, Fielding was just a kid getting a replacement spot opportunity, with nobody expecting he would win the tournament. Now he's going to be someone to keep an eye on. He showed nice power, good timing, and really incredible poise for someone at 23 years of age with so little pro experience. He didn't let Maxwell's rushes get to him, picked Ainscough apart with relative ease, and waited on Webb to give him openings.
Congratulations to Rocky Fielding, and I also want to say that since I get to make calls like this, the Bad Left Hook Fight of the Tournament goes to the first round brawl between Jahmaine Smyle and Carl Dilks.
Full recap of all fights after the jump.
- Rocky Fielding TKO-2 Patrick J. Maxwell: Fielding was a very late addition to the tournament, is a Liverpool native, and just turned pro about six months ago. This was a great fight, and the first stoppage win of Fielding's pro career. The youngster used the veteran's aggression very nicely against him, and showed terrific poise for someone so inexperienced. He took Maxwell apart. After a great, action-packed first round, it was all Fielding in the second frame. Maxwell went down once, and was getting ripped again when the referee stepped in. An upset, but that's Prizefighter for you.
- Joe Ainscough SD-3 Wayne Reed: I thought it could have been, at best, a 28-28 draw. I had Reed winning 29-27 on the strength of a dominant third round, which included a knockdown. So let's say you're on this site and you understand boxing score to some degree, right? How does Joe Ainscough get a 30-28 card when he was both beaten up AND knocked down in the third round? How does Joe Ainscough get a 10-10 round there? That card came from Ian-John Lewis, by the way, and he should be held accountable. A disgrace, and sadly overshadowed another exciting fight with a very brave performance by Ainscough. It's not even so much that he won, but 30-28 Ainscough is indefensible. Period.
Tobias Webb UD-3 Robin Reid: I had this one 29-28 for Webb, and the judges had it 30-27, 30-28 and 29-28. Robin Reid, who looked absolutely cooked but still very game at age 40, didn't like the decision, but, uh, he's had worse. Webb has been getting lots of good hype for the tournament, but I really didn't see a ton in this performance. His uncle Enzo Maccarinelli managed to make it through the post-fight interview without getting knocked out. OK, that was low. Sorry, Enzo, I'm actually a fan. Enzo looked quite thin, too.
- Jahmaine Smyle SD-3 Carl Dilks: Smyle won two cards 29-28, Dilks took the other by the same score. BLH had it 29-28 for Smyle. This was a tremendous fight, the best of a very good first round. Smyle was just a little stronger, but overcame a good start by Dilks to win the second and third rounds. Fairly big upset, and outside of Tobias Webb, I saw nobody picking any of the guys who are moving on to the second round to actually win this tournament. This has been a good one.
- Rocky Fielding TKO-1 Joe Ainscough: Fielding totally overwhelmed Ainscough, who had nothing left after a tough first round fight. Fielding opened up two cuts and Ainscough's corner agreed with the referee that it was enough. Ainscough again showed his toughness and spirit, but he just didn't have enough left. This puts a fighter with five days' notice into the Prizefighter final.
Tobias Webb UD-3 Jahmaine Smyle: Webb was just a better boxer in this one, but Smyle didn't let him breathe and forced a very hard fight, which sets up a final of a six-month pro who came in on five days' notice, who is fresh after two stoppage wins, and Webb, who has gone six rounds already tonight. Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 (twice).
Rocky Fielding RTD-1 Tobias Webb