Travis Walker has vowed to back his favourite status for the Betfair Prizefighter International Heavyweights III with three KO wins at York Hall in Bethnal Green, live on Sky Sports 1HD tomorrow night from 8pm.
Walker is the 2-1 favourite with Betfair to land the trophy in the 29th edition of Matchroom Sport’s eight-man, one night tournament, and he faces fellow American Derric Rossy in the fourth quarter final.
The 33 year old holds an ominous 31 KOs from his 39 wins and has his eyes on the £2,000 bonus for every knockout in east London.
“I am very, very aggressive,” said Walker. “I have a big, strong jab and a big right hand. I will be looking for three stoppages. There is an extra £2,000 for each knockout and I like the money!
“I have watched Prizefighter a few times and it has my name all over it. I am a quick starter, a very powerful puncher and that style of boxing is great for Prizefighter. If my opponents aren’t intimidated by my record now, they will be by the end of the night.
“I really do expect to win. You’re going to see the right hand of mine a few times. If you want to win some money, I am the guy to bet on. If you don’t see that before the tournament, you will see it by the end.”
Walker comes into the Betfair Prizefighter on the back of a shot at the IBF North American heavyweight title and is hoping the three wins he plans on adding to his record tonight can take him to within two fights of a challenge for Vitali Klitschko’s WBC belt.
“I know Prizefighter can do a lot for a boxer like me, who is trying to get back in the ratings,” said Walker. “Coming off three wins definitely puts you in the market for a bigger fight.
“If I took a bigger fight and came back with a win hopefully that would set me up for a World title shot or an eliminator at least. Any World title would be great but you know that green one is the one that everybody wants.”
However, the American isn’t limiting his options and is looking to get himself known on this side of the Atlantic by smashing his way to the Betfair Prizefighter glory.
“This is a great chance for me to make a name for myself,” said Walker. “I have a great following but I really want to make a name for myself over here, I want to be a big presence.
“I hear a lot about the boxing fans over here; how they cheer and how they give you a lot of love and that is what I need. I am looking forward to it.
“Every time I get a big chance I end up getting too hyper and that is something I have to learn from. I feel like I have learnt from that and I am ready to rebuild.
“I have been doing some different things with my trainer, especially keeping my hands up more. My jab is a lot better and I can come behind my jab with my right hand. My jab has always been good but it is actually even better now.
“I know a little bit about some of the other fighters but none of them really impress me. Their style of boxing and their heart doesn’t impress me. If you don’t have a heart you really shouldn’t be in this business and I feel a few of them don’t have the heart.”
Walker or Rossy will face the winner of quarter-final three which pits Londoner Ian Lewison against German Timo Hoffman. The two former the Betfair Prizefighter Heavyweight winners in the line-up could meet in the first semi-final, with inaugural the Betfair Prizefighter champ Martin Rogan facing Poland’s Albert Sosnowski in the opening bout of the night, and former World title challenger Audley Harrison tackling Dane Claus Bertino in the second quarter final.
In between the semis and the final sees the hotly-anticipated debut of Team GB skipper Thomas Stalker, who faces Nuneaton stalwart Kristian Laight. Stalker kicks-off his career in the light welterweight division, and the 28 year old is itching to get started.
“Since the Olympics I haven’t had a goal and I have been a bit depressed, especially seeing the other lads doing all sorts of stuff but now I have that hunger back and to get in that ring and fight is going to be amazing,” said Stalker. “The one for me is going to be March 30, boxing a homecoming in Liverpool. It is going to be amazing for me to be boxing in front of all my friends and family in Liverpool; that is when I will really feel like a professional.”
Betfair currently make Harrison second favourite to win the 29th edition of the Betfair Prizefighter at 100-30 behind Walker. Albert Sosnowski is 4-1 ahead of Ian Lewison at 13-2. Martin Rogan is an 7-1 shout to win his second Prizefighter, with Derric Rossy 16-1, Claus Bertino 25-1 and Timo Hoffmann 29-1. Click here for the latest odds: To win Betfair Prizefighter International Heavyweights III.
Betfair Prizefighter International Heavyweights III draw
Quarter-final one: Martin Rogan 16st 10lb v Albert Sosnowski 15st 13lb
Quarter-final two: Audley Harrison 16st 13lb v Claus Bertino 16st 10lb
Quarter-final three: Ian Lewison 18st 3lb v Timo Hoffman 18st 11lb
Quarter-final four: Travis Walker 17st 11lb v Derric Rossy 16st 12lb
Paul Butlin: 17st 2lb, Hari Miles 15st 13lb
Four-round light welterweight contest:
Tom Stalker 10st ½ lb v Kristian Laight 10st