By Alexey Sukachev
Call him a zero-taker, which he is! Glenn Foot (10-0, 5 KOs), a relatively unknown young gun from Sunderland, England, beat three undefeated fighters in a row to capture the big prize of the Prizefighter Welterweight III series... and no less than £34,000 to spare (£32,000 - for the final victory and £2,000 - for stopping Steven Pierce in the fourth quarterfinal). Foot won a split decision over another newly-found sensation in Dale Evans (6-1-1, 3 KOs). Scores were: 29-28 (Steve Gray and Richie Davis) - for Foot, and 28-29 (Phil Edwards) - for Evans. Foot has now 6 wins over previously undefeated fighters of his total 10 victories.
The final bout wasn't a walk in the park for 25-year old Foot. His Welsh opponent, 21, was a serious danger with a blend of youth and considerable punching power. Sensing the perils of an open war, Foot chose to start cautiously, and Evans did the same. Both fighters provided fans with a tactical, timid first round. It looked like Foot was a bit better but it was close. The second round turned to be a see-saw period of activity. Foot looked much better during the first and the third minutes, but Evans produced a shocking combination of several hard head blows to pin Foot to the ropes during the second minute of the stanza. That was up to judges to define who was a better man of the two during this period.
Finally, in the third, both fighters tried their best to put a final mark to the contest. Evans, almost immediately, connected with a pair of telling right hands but then Foot answered with a huge attack and a left hook of his own. However, the end of the fight was in favour of Evans, who stunned Foot badly with a well-placed left hook to the liver. Foot was able to survive the damage.
In a featured bout on the Prizefighter card, rising bantamweight star Khalid 'Kal' Yafai (7-0, 6 KOs) got his first ever win over a fighter from the New World, as he bombed away on rugged Mexican Gonzalo Garcia (8-7-2, 4 KOs) and compelled Garcia to surrender on his stool during the break between the fourth and the fifth rounds due to 'severe exhaustion'.
Yafai was in full control of the fight. The former stellar amateur, who wasn't on the British Olympic squad for 2012 London Olympics, was way faster than the Mexican, forcing him to miss every now and then. Garcia tried to engage Yafai into a brawl but this brawl was too one-sided and not in his favour. Kal was in and out, throwing multiple combinations and forcing Garcia to retreat all the time.
If anything, Chad Gaynor (10-1, 5 KOs) has only himself to blame for his unanimous decision loss to determined Glenn Foot (9-0, 5 KOs), who joined Dale Evans in the final of this Prizefighter series. Scores were: 29-28, 30-28 and 30-27 - for Foot.
Gaynor started too slow, allowing his wily opponent to jump right on him from the starting bell. Foot missed a majority of his blows, but those, which landed, did enough damage and shook Gaynor up. Gaynor started to return the fire in the second stanza. His massive right hand almost put Foot down. However, the latter just couldn't miss with his right hand, tagging Gaynor again and again. The last round was also very close, with neither fighter getting the better of his opponent. Gaynor did a nice body of defensive work but Foot overwhelmed him with the punch output and the bulldog's determination. So that the crucial round was the opening one, which was clearly in Foot's favour.
Forced to dig very deep, 21-year old Dale Evans (6-0-1, 3 KOs) survived the perils of the last round of his semi-final against experienced Mark Thompson, ten years his senior, to capture a unanimous decision with three identical cards read as 29-28 - in his favour. BoxingScene had a draw - 29-29 - in what really was an almost even fight.
Evans, however, didn't produce the fight of his life, and the main reason of his success was strange inactivity of Thompson in the first couple of stanzas. The Welshman was aggressive from the get-go, and Thompson, who had two and a half times more knockouts than Evans had fights, let him do some bombing, being too lazy to counter his younger foe consistently. Evans took an advantage of this lucky chance to win the first. In the second round, Thompson didn't try hard as well, losing it as well - thanks to cracking body shots of Evans. Sensing the danger of losing the bout, Thompson turned an aggressor in the third and last stanza. He landed several very telling blows, specifically his right hand to almost put the Welshman down. However, Evans survived the nasty storm and got a deserved win. Thompson falls down to 25-3, with 15 KOs.
Disparity in the power department was clearly seen in the last quartefinal between previously undefeated Glenn Foot and Steven Pierce. The latter's overall record of opposition was pitiful 26-330-7, while Foot had wins over two unbeaten boxers and also over James Flynn, a locally notable light middleweight. The outcome was clearly seen from the very beginning, and no one was really surprised, when Pierce got stopped at 1:43 of the second round.
The first stanza was in Foot's favour but Pierce tried everything to put his for into deep waters. Foot was aggressive at times but for the most of the round looked to counter The Fierce Pierce. Early into the second, Pierce went in, and Foor, while fighting off the ropes, landed a right hook over Pierce's guard, which has seemingly landed on the back of his head. Pierce went down and was clearly dazed. Foot engaged him into a brawl and methodically broke him down. Pierce was stopped as he was trying to unload but was eating to much punishment at the same time. Foot is now 8-0, 5 KOs, while Pierce suffers his first career loss and down to 6-1, with a single kayo.
Unbeatens Chad Gaynor and Calum Cooper kicked off the third quarterfinal from the point, where it had been stopped in the previous fight. Combatants engaged into a memorable war, heating the already boiling crowd even more, but it lasted less than a round as powers were too uneven for one of the fighters to survive the massacre. On the side note, the fight (whilst it lasted) was truly great, as both fighters didn't hesitate to throw their defense into the window for a better pain-serving.
Gaynor was, however, much more controlled with his seemingly uncontrolled aggression. He started the beating with a huge right hand to put Cooper to the ropes. Calum tried to answer every punch with a blow of his own, but Gaynor was tight with his guard as he was vicious with his punches. In a two-way brawl, he started to break Cooper down during the second minute of the round and put his foe into survival mode during the third minute of the stanza. Referee Mark Green waited as much as the British referee can wait, giving Cooper every possible chance, but was finally forced to intervene at 2:40 of the round. Chad Gaynor is now 10-0, with 5 KOs, and into the semifinals. Cooper falls down to 4-1.
Local fans certainly got their monies worth during the second quarterfinal, which turned into a barnburner of sorts. Welshman Dale Evans (5-0-1, 3 KOs) came out as the winner with a unanimous decision, but Sam Eggington (3-1) has also raised his stock in a valiant loss despite losing his unblemished record.
Eggington, 19, supported by the partizan crowd, immediately went after Evans, and the latter answered the challenge to produce an early candidate for the round of the year. Fists were flying and girls were crying as two warriors clashed against each other. Evans, 21, stunned Eggington, not a ver crude puncher, with a three-punch combo to start the fire. Eggington answered with huge left hooks and uppercuts to even things up, and then the bout became more and more of a wild brawl. Taking the end of the first, Evans paved the way for his future success. However, Eggington came back strong in the second to possibly snatch this round on the judges' scorecards. The third stanza was in favour of Evans, 21, the more experienced battler of the two, who continuously found Eggington's jaw with crispy right hands.
All three judges had it for Dale Evans: 30-27 and 29-28 (twice). The latter score is in agreement with the BoxingScene's ledger. Regardless of the actual winner, fans should be delighted with a fisticuffs act like that.
In the first quarterfinal of the next Prizefighter series (this time fought at the welterweight limit), Mark Thompson (25-2, 15 KOs) came back from his one-sided loss to Jack Culcay-Keth to stop Rob Hunt (17-2-2, 1 KOs) in the third round of their fight. Ironically, two most experienced contestants of this Prizefighter series collided in what is deemed by many to be a preliminary final of the tourney.
Thompson started very aggressively, stalking Hunt around the ring in the first. Thompson wasn't particularly sharp with his blows, but activity was his advantage. Hunt, on the other hand, did little to ensure the judges he has something to oppose to his foe. The latter took the second with his hard left hooks and overall punch output as well. And early into the third stanza, an accidental headbutt forced a bad cut over Hunt's right eye, putting a halt to the fight after the physician's advice in the corner. Time of stoppage was 0:29. Thompson was damaged by the headbutt as well.