John Anthony has vowed to upset the form book and beat the odds to win Prizefighter Cruiserweights II.
Doncaster-based Anthony, 35, is one of eight men in Barry Hearn’s latest Prizefighter tournament, to be staged at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, east London on Friday, April 30.
Anthony, who has won seven out of 18 fights, has been written off by bookmakers, who have priced him as a 16/1 outsider to claim the £32,000 top prize.
“People will probably under-estimate me and see me as an easy draw,” admitted Anthony. "But that gives me a point to prove and my record doesn’t reflect what kind of fighter I am.
“I saw an interview with Darren Corbett and he said it was just between him and Herbie Hide but I don’t see it that way. I know I can beat anyone and, considering the competition, it’s a bit disrespectful for him to say that.
“My record doesn’t look good on paper but I haven’t had much notice for some of the fights I’ve lost. I run two businesses – a fencing business and a tree surgery business - so I work hard and find it hard to train properly.
“But for the last four months I’ve put the businesses on hold and got people to cover so I could concentrate 100 per cent on boxing. I’m happy to be in Prizefighter and I really think I’ve got a good chance of winning it.
“I’ve never trained this hard for any fight and I’m easily in the best shape I’ve ever been in. My main strength is that I can hit as hard as anyone in this division and as hard as most heavyweights so that’s what’s going to get me through.”
The Prizefighter contenders include former WBO heavyweight champion Herbie Hide, ex Commonwealth champion Darren Corbett and Mark Krence, who has fought for the British heavyweight belt.
Anthony, who wants to fight current British champion Rob Norton after winning Prizefighter, has already had some experience of the tournament as an unused reserve in Prizefighter Cruiserweights I last May.
“It was really frustrating,” added Anthony. “John Keeton got a cut in his semi-final victory and the doctor wasn’t going to let him fight in the final.
“It was touch and go as it was a bad cut. I got told to warm up and I could’ve gone straight into the final but then they let him fight. But now I’m in it and Prizefighter is a good competition - winning this will open a lot of doors for me.”
The full list of contenders is: John Anthony (Doncaster), Wayne Brooks (Cardiff), Darren Corbett (Belfast), Jon-Lewis Dickinson (County Durham), Herbie Hide (Norwich), Zahid Kahut (Batley), Mark Krence (Chesterfield) and Leon Williams (Streatham, London).
Tickets cost £35 and £60 and are available from 01277 359900. The show will also be broadcast live on Sky Sports.