Thursday, May 17, 2012
'Prizefighter' tourney for heavies
By Dan Rafael
Matchroom Sport's "Prizefighter" series has become a popular attraction on Sky Sports in England. The concept is interesting: Take eight fighters and match them via blind draw in a one-night tournament of three-round fights. The winner gets the biggest purse of the night.
Since gambling is legal in England, the tournaments provide fun fodder for the wagering crowd, plus good action for fight fans. The 25th edition of the series will take place June 20 in London, but this one has more notable names than usual.
The latest edition will take place in the heavyweight division and include a trio of former world title challengers -- American Kevin Johnson, Albert Sosnowski of Poland (who is now based in England) and Australia's Kali Meehan -- all hoping to get their careers back on track with a notable victory. Also announced for the field was England's Tom Dallas (15-2, 11 KOs), who is trying to bounce back from back-to-back knockout losses to former title challenger Matt Skelton and rising British prospect David Price.
Johnson (26-1-1, 12 KOs) and Sosnowski (46-4-2, 28 KOs) have both challenged Vitali Klitschko for his version of the heavyweight championship. In December 2009, Johnson was outclassed as he spent most of the fight running and refusing to throw punches in a horrible performance that he has yet to live down. Sosnowski was game in his May 2010 challenge before being knocked out in the 10th round. Meehan (38-5, 31 KOs) lost a controversial split decision to Lamon Brewster in a 2004 world title fight.
Johnson, whose mouth has always been bigger than his punching, is already talking smack ahead of the tournament.
"I'm ready to put the American heavyweight boxing scene back on the map, starting with the Betfair 'Prizefighter' tournament on June 20," he said. "Like I tell everybody, I am the best American heavyweight, bar none. If people see me, they will know it. Don't worry about Seth Mitchell, Chris Arreola or any of those other clowns. Just focus on me and watch me deliver. I'm the best heavyweight in the world that's not named Klitschko, and after 'Prizefighter,' I'll take care of that, too."
The rest of the field has not yet been announced.