Hometown underdog Rocky Fielding broke Prizefighter records as he stormed to victory in the Super-Middleweights II at Liverpool Olympia. Roared on by an army of fans, Fielding destroyed his three opponents in brutal fashion, becoming the first winner to win all three of his fights inside the distance on the way to collecting the £32,000 winner’s cheque and catapulting himself from three-fight novice to a name to watch.
“It’s just unbelievable,” said Fielding. “I was nowhere near the line-up nine or ten days ago but the second I knew I was in it I thought, ‘I’ll win that’.
“I’m always in great shape, I don’t fear anyone and I’ve got a good following so I’m ready to be in the big-time,” said Fielding. “I’m not going to jump the gun and say I want title shots and so-on – I’ve only had three fights before this and I know that – but as this showed, I’m always ready to fight and I’ll box anywhere and this will open big, big doors for me.”
The 23 year-old is the champion with the fewest fights on his record but he looked every part the winner as he ended the opening bout of the night against Patrick J Maxwell with a second round stoppage.
His all-Merseyside semi-final against Joe Ainscough ended in the opening round and he followed that trick in the final, handing highly-rated Welshman Tobias Webb his first career defeat – dropping the slick Swansea fighter with 20 seconds left of the opening round with a left hook before Webb’s corner pulled him out ahead of the second round, meaning Fielding fought just four rounds to claim the title, the lowest number by a winner.
The 2008 ABAs finalist was due to fight at the venue on April 2 on the undercard of corner man and former Prizefighter finalist Derry Matthew’s fight but took the spot in Prizefighter just six days ago instead.
“It’s a life-changing night – the money is fantastic of course but I’ve crushed a good line-up here inside the distance with a big following watching me at late notice,” said Fielding. “I’ve always known that I have a big future in boxing and tonight was the springboard.”
Bookmakers SkyBet were odds-on for a Liverpudlian to win the night, but all-eyes for that honour were on the big name locals in the line-up. Three-time World Champion Robin Reid and tournament favourite Carl Dilks were the likeliest local winners on paper but both men fell at the first hurdle.
Webb faced Reid in the third quarter-final of the night and before the fight started, the 40 year-old showed he still had the showmanship for a big night as he got into the face of Enzo Maccarinelli’s nephew – 18 years younger than Reid.
But Webb stormed out of the traps and showed plenty of speed, poise and control as he took the opening round and looked ready to dominate the fight. Reid called upon his experience in the second round and began to ask the Welsh prospect questions but again Enzo’s charge responded with strong shots and fine movement and he sealed a unanimous decision in the third round.
Dilks faced Leicester’s Jahmaine ‘Smasher’ Smyle and the Liverpudlian responded to the fevered home support with a solid opening salvo but Smyle looked dangerous and Dilks – who admitted ahead of the fight he had struggled with his weight – began to tire early in the second. Smyle took the second round and the pair fought like they knew it was all on the line in the final round – trading blows before the split decision edged into the Leicester man’s favour.
There was an all-Liverpool semi-final treat for the packed local support but Ainscough had poured everything into his opening bout, taking a split decision over Sheffield southpaw Wayne Reed despite hitting the canvas in the final round. Ainscough looked spent ahead of the Fielding spat and so it proved – Rocky smelt blood and went in for the kill, inflicting a severe cut on Ainscough and stopping his opponent before the end of the first round. Ainscough deservedly received the crowd’s applause though, recovering from a life-threatening knife attack two years ago to return to boxing in Prizefighter.
The home crowd had their man in the final but he needed an opponent – and Webb and Smyle went toe-to-toe for the privilege. Webb looked dominant in the opening round, landing lefts on the rangy Leicester fighter but again Smyle found plenty in the tank and began to rock the previously unflappable Webb in the second. The partisan crowd sensed another final round decider and the duo went all guns blazing, but while the work-rate and desire came from Smyle, Webb’s movement and nous saw him take a unanimous decision for a spot in the final.
PRIZEFIGHTER SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHTS II RESULTS
Rocky Fielding beat Patrick J Maxwell – second round stoppage
Joe Ainscough beat Wayne Reed – split decision 29-28, 27-28, 30-28
Tobias Webb beat Robin Reid – unanimous decision 30-27, 30-28, 29-28
Jahmaine Smyle beat Carl Dilks – split decision 29-28, 28-29, 29-28
Rocky Fielding beat Joe Ainscough – first round stoppage
Tobias Webb beat Jahmaine Smyle – unanimous decision 30-27, 29-28, 29-28
Rocky Fielding beat Tobias Webb – first round stoppage