By Dereck Bilton
£32000 and their very own moment in the sun awaits the winner of the third welterweight offering of Prizefighter this weekend.
The competition seemed to lose some of it's lustre towards the back end of last year but the new £2000 KO bonus incentive has certainly livened things up.
Wolverhampton's Civic Hall is the venue for the popular one-nigh slug-fest and this is definitely one of Matchroom's more competitive offerings.
Six of the eight combatants are unbeaten and sparks look set to fly in the Black Country. Birmingham's Callum Cooper will be well supported and the tattooed 24-year-old will be looking for a breakout performance in front of the Sky cameras. He's only had four fights as a pro but he's fresh and the 3x3s harum scarum format will definitely be to his liking. So too Rotherham's Chad Gaynor, a Yorjkshireman who can really bang and has looked relatively faultless so far in compiling a 9-0 record since his first pro bout back in 2009.
Sam Eggington is the youngest ever Prizefighter at just 19 and the Stourbridge man is the rank outsider with the bookies as a result. However he too is unbeaten as a professional and if you believe the old adage that those who are good enough are old enough then current tasty double figure odds may make some appeal.
There has been money for Dale Evans, a raw but powerful 21-year-old from Carmathen who has won three of his four fights so far by stoppage. 'Big Boy' Evans was involved in a ferocious scrap with Kyle Winters last year and will be all the better for it. Opponents won't have to go looking for the Welshman but it remains to be seen if he can continue his unbeaten streak in this sort of company.
Mark Thompson is the event jolly and definitely the most experienced fighter lining up. The 31-year-old has previously boxed for a WBC International light-middleweight title. On that occasion he was stopped by the Vincent Vuma and his only other defeat came last time out against the gifted Jack Culcay in Germany. Thompson is fit, game and puts his punches together well, especially to the body. However a promising career was derailed somewhat after he was forced to spend some time at Her Majesty's pleasure a while back and the fact that he has only had three fights in the past three years (including one stoppage defeat) makes him one to swerve in my book.
Not so Sunderland's Glen Foot. The classy North Easterner has been chalked up as a 4/1 poke and has every chance in this field. He was an accomplished amateur (2010 ABA finalist) and has really looked the part since turning over in 2010. He has streaked to 7-0 (4) but tellingly only two of the seven men he has faced as a professional have had losing records. This suggests his promotional team are confident he can cut the mustard and if he can handle the TV glare (this is the biggest night of his life so far) I reckon he has the skills to deliver.
I have seen Foot in the flesh three times. In April 2001 he iced Mat Doyle inside a round while I also saw his debut in 2010 (another first round victory). His best win so far came against fellow unbeaten Ali Shah, who he decisioned in Bolton in October 2011. Frustratingly Foot only boxed once last year but he has had plenty of notice for this and at 25 should have the man strength to box in the trenches should things get tasty.
The Mackem won't be short of support either in the Midlands and I fancy him to be too hot for Thompson et al on the night.