Prizefighter champion Casey targets European title shot next



WILLIE 'Big Bang' Casey has targeted the European title after winning Prizefighter Super-Bantamweights title in a night of thrilling action, drama and controversy at London's York Hall.

Casey, 28, from Limerick, Ireland, claimed the £32,000 winner's prize with a unanimous points victory over Scottish substitute Paul McElhinney.

McElhinney got his chance in the final after Welshman Ricky Owen was left in tears after a bad cut sustained during his semi-final win denied him a final appearance.

"This victory means I'm up there at the top of the division and I've proved I can be with the best," said a delighted Casey, who entered Prizefighter as a short-notice replacement after Wayne McCullough withdrew injured.

"I only came here with five fights on my record but I beat everyone against all the odds.

"It was a great opportunity and if a big fight comes up then I will always take it. Prizefighter came along and without hesitation I accepted it.

"I was a bit edgy before the start as I normally come on stronger in the later rounds but then I had a fast start in my first fight.

"I showed a lot of character and that I have a big heart as there were some great lads in this.

"The best in Britain were in this competition including Esham Pickering and Jamie Arthur but I'm the one left standing.

"Who knows what the future holds? I might get a shot at the European title after winning Prizefighter. I'm very proud of everything I've done."

In one of the greatest Prizefighter events ever, four of the seven fights were decided by a split decision, while one was stopped inside the distance.

Casey won an incredible semi-final on points against Barnsley's Josh Wale in a contest where a staggering 532 punches were thrown in three rounds.

The other semi-final saw Owen gain a hard-fought win over 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Jamie Arthur.

However, both men gained bad cuts during the contest and Owen's cut saw him unable to fight in the final.

This was the 12th Prizefighter event and it started in explosive fashion as Casey floored Liverpool's Mark Moran during their quarter-final before the contest was then stopped.

Barnsley's Josh Wale narrowly defeated former European, Commonwealth and British champion Esham Pickering in the next contest.

Arthur scraped past Robbie Turley in the third quarter-final before Owen climbed off the canvas to beat Gavin Reid in the last one.

Prizefighter Super-Bantamweights
Mark Moran lost to Willie Casey - Ref stopped fight round 3
Esham Pickering lost to Josh Wale - Split decision 29-30, 29-28, 28-29
Robbie Turley lost to Jamie Arthur - Split decision 27-29, 29-28, 27-30
Gavin Reid lost to Ricky Owen - Split decision 28-29, 29-28, 28-29

Willie Casey beat Josh Wale - Split decision 29-28, 28-29, 29-28
Jamie Arthur lost to Ricky Owen - Unanimous decision - 27-30, 28-29, 28-29

* Ricky Owen sustained a cut in the semi-final and could not fight in the final. His place in the final was taken by Paul McElhinney, who had won a coin toss.

Willie Casey beat Paul McElhinney - Unanimous decision 29-28, 30-27, 30-28

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