The first Betfair Prizefighter of 2013 will be staged at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall this Saturday night as the welterweights battle for the £32,000 top prize live on Sky Sports.
Matchroom Sport’s 28th edition of its innovative eight-man knock-out tournament forms part of a great line-up of boxing in the Black Country, which includes Kal Yafai’s first fight of 2013 as he hunts for the big names and titles in the bantamweight division.
The third Welterweights tournament promises to be intrguing with six of the largely inexperienced fighters bringing unbeaten records in the professional ranks, including Glenn Foot, Dale Evans, Chad Gaynor, Steven Pearce, Calum Cooper and Sam Eggington.
A talented amateur, Foot, 25, was highly regarded and thought to be going places with four wins in 2011, until he was involved in an assault which left him out of action until July 2012.
Hard-hitting Welshman Evans scored a four round points win over Kevin McCauley at Matchroom’s Olympia show in December to open the door for entry to Prizefighter, and is a potential dark horse if he lands with his big punches.
21-year-olf Chad Gaynor is looking to kick-start his career after becoming frustrated treading water against journeyman and will see Welterweights III as his time to shine.
At just 19, Eggington will aim to become the youngest ever Prizefighter winner as he hopes to beat the record set by Patrick Mendy in June 2010 by 180 days.
24-year-old Cooper has chalked up four points wins in Birmingham since his pro debut in September, while 28-year-old Pearce has picked up two of his six wins to date at the Civic Hall.
Completing the line-up will be Rob Hunt, Mark Thompson and Glenn Foot.
Thompson returned to action in April 2012 after two years out of the ring and challenged former World Amateur champion Jack Culcay for the WBA Inter-Continental light middleweight title in Germany in September.
Stafford’s Hunt is aiming to push for honours this year after a frustrating 2012 with just two fights to his name after hunting a second title shot following disappointment in his British Masters bout in November 2010.
Welterweight world title challenger Kell Brook performed the draw for Welterweights III, with Mark Thompson and Rob Hunt kicking off the action live on Sky Sports.
The winner of Thompson and Hunt’s opening quarter-final will face either Welshman Dale Evans or 19-year-old Sam Eggington in the first semi-final, the youngest ever boxer in Prizefighter.
The third quarter-final pits Chad Gaynor against Calum Cooper and they box for the right to face either Steven Pearce or Glenn Foot in the second semi-final.
All Prizefighter bouts will take place over three three-minute rounds.
Also on the night, Kal Yafai will continue his education in the pro ranks against Mexican Gonzalo Garcia.
The Birmingham bantamweight made huge strides on turning professional last year, racking up six wins with five coming inside the distance.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has high hopes for the former Team GB youngster and will be looking to move him into title contention later this year.
But for now the 23-year-old will keep busy in a scheduled eight-rounder at the Civic Hall against Garcia, whose ledger reads 8-6 with two drawn.
Having lost his last three fights he is not expected to trouble Yafai, although he has only been stopped once.
The fight will take place between the semi-finals and the final of Prizefighter – Welterweights III, live on Sky Sports 1 from 8pm on Saturday, January 19.
Dave Clark introduces live coverage and will be joined for expert analysis by Glenn McCrory, with commentary from Nick Halling and Jim Watt.
…Saturday 19th January Yafai & The Betfair Prizefighters - Welterweights III LIVE: 8.00pm-11.30pm – Sky Sports 1 Tournament Schedule 8.15pm - Quarter-final 1 – Mark Thompson v Rob Hunt 8.35pm – Quarter-final 2 – Sam Eggington v Dale Evans
8.55pm – Quarter-final 3 – Chad Gaynor v Calum Cooper
9.15pm – Quarter-final 4 - Steven Pearce v Glenn Foot 9.40pm – Semi Final 1 – Thompson/Hunt v Eggington/Evans 10.00pm – Semi Final 2 – Gaynor/Cooper v Pearce/Foot 10.20pm – Kai Yafai v Gonzalo Garcia 11.00pm - Prizefighter – Welterweights III Final