Time to bring back Prizefighter format?

Prizefighter Audley Harrison

Lawrence Lustig

It’s been almost three years since Tom Doran fought off competition from Cello Renda to take the last ever Prizefighter crown, bringing the curtain down on a successful seven-year run for the series.

The eight-man format produced some memorable moments from inception, with the high-paced action and shorter fights proving a hit with fans who were looking for instant gratification.

Boasting a massive pot at the end of the night to the successful entrant, Barry Hearn’s Prizefighter brainchild saw plenty of past and future stars attempt to claim the three, three-minute victories needed to lift the trophy.

Past champions include the likes of Martin Murray, Terry Flanagan, Rocky Fielding and Audley Harrison (twice), the latter of which gave a former Olympic gold medallist with a failing career earn a lucrative payday against David Haye once upon a time.

Harrison was one of only two men to pick up the hefty cheque twice, alongside the man who opened the door to facing Haye in a Pay-Per-View disaster, three-round specialist and the hopefully now retired Michael Sprott (last fought in December losing to Ali Eren Demirezen in five).

Credit: Lawrence Lustig

The other trio all went on to bigger and better things after earning their Prizefighter stripes, as have plenty other of the winners, which include Gavin Rees, Mike Perez and ex-world title holder Lee Haskins.

So, is the time right to bring the tournament back for a new generation of young contenders?

Matchroom’s growing Olympic movement would suggest so as a host of fresh talent is emerging and could benefit from the tough competition that goes with the shorter rounds of a one-night event.

Josh Kelly, Anthony Fowler, Lawrence Okolie and the rest would have been perfect candidates to be thrown straight in after turning pro to mix it with some of the old guard in shootout-style as an introduction into the paid ranks.

Conor Benn certainly would be suited to any future Prizefighter, whilst the heavyweight ranks home and abroad are consistently eye-catching when given the competition makeover and always produce entertaining nights.


Credit: Lawrence Lustig

A prime example would be pitting Nathan Gorman, David Price, Dereck Chisora, Sam Sexton, Gary Cornish, Nick Webb, Dave Allen and Tom Little into a quarter-finals at York Hall and would make great TV for Sky Sports to consider.

Whatever the future holds for Prizefighter, Hearn’s baby is the perfect window for new blood and veterans to shine and could enjoy a renaissance period if re-introduced to a further wave of the boxing fraternity over the next twelve months.

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay