Smyth: I owe it to myself to win Prizefighter



ST ALBANS boxer "feels left behind" by former teammates

Prizefighter Light-Heavyweights II contender Joe Smyth has revealed his motivation behind entering the show at Olympia on January 29 – to catch up with his high-profile amateur teammates.

The St Albans' fighter Smyth lapped up the attention at Sky's studios on the promotional day on Wednesday ahead of the 16th edition of Matchroom Sport's eight-man, one-night tournament is a fortnight away, and will be broadcast in 3D for the first time by Sky Sports, and the former amateur star is ready to join his illustrious former colleagues as one of boxing's biggest draws.

Smyth has old pals Khan and DeGale in his sights

"I think I owe it to myself to win this as I had a good amateur career but I feel like I've been left behind," said Smyth. "I was in teams with Amir Khan, James DeGale, Frankie Gavin, Steven Smith and Tony Jeffries – I became good mates with them, sparring day in day out, but because of injuries and bad luck, I just haven't had my big break – Prizefighter is my chance to get right up there."

Smyth enters the tournament with a professional record of seven wins from eight fights, and while he admitted he is still on a learning curve in his professional career, the 25 year-old is fully aware that an amateur pedigree is a valuable asset in Prizefighter.

"I captained England in a few events – I did well but it's a huge difference becoming a pro," said Smyth. "I think I've adapted to it well though and it's still early days for me. I've only done four-rounders so far which is good for me in Prizefighter as a lot of these guys are used to the long fights so I'm going to go back to my amateur days and give them a boxing lesson that will dazzle them."

If Smyth is to join his old amateur colleagues he will need to outlast one of the toughest ever Prizefighter fields. Four young unbeaten fighters are aiming to grab their big chance to leap to the top of the queue for title shots in the division. 22 year-old Travis Dickinson – younger brother of Cruiserweights II winner Jon-Lewis – has three knockouts under his belt from his seven wins so far, with his first victory coming against Prizefighter Super-Middleweights champ Patrick Mendy when the pair made their debuts back in March 2009.

Former Wales amateur captain Llewellyn Davies has five wins to his name with three KOs, 26 year-old Kent fighter Menay Edwards has four wins from his first four fights with one knockout and popular Romford man Billy Slate in undefeated after his opening two fights as he kicks off his career at 28.

Former British super-middleweight champion Tony Dodson returns to the fray on the back of two high-profile tilts at retaining the title in Liverpool against local rivals Paul Smith and Tony Quigley. Surrey fighter Michael Banbula enters in the best run of form in his 40 fight career, currently unbeaten in his last five fights including a win over previous Light-Heavyweights champ Tony Oakey and a draw against Tony Jeffries that halted the Sunderland Olympic bronze medallists winning streak. The final fighter in the line-up is 28 year-old Jack Morris has four wins and one defeat fighting out of Blackfriars, with his solitary loss coming against Banbula.

Tickets for the Prizefighter Light-Heavyweights II are on sale now, with tickets starting at £20 and £30, ringside tickets at £40 and £50, and VIP packages at £120 – tickets are on sale at or through Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.

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