Barry McGuigan has called for the Prizefighter Super Middleweights to match the heart and strength of Willie “Big Bang” Casey when the aim to lift the trophy on Wednesday June 30, live on Sky Sports.
Irish legend McGuigan was ringside when Casey stormed to victory in the super-welterweights the last time Barry Hearn’s eight-man, one night tournament was staged at York Hall, Bethnal Green – and as the super-middleweights take to the venue in a week’s time, the former world champion said they had to match his countryman’s determination if they want to pocket the £32,000 winner’s cheque.
“Casey had three brutal fights but he’s a tough kid and his strength and guts earned him the win and that’s what these guys have to come up with,” said McGuigan. “Preparation for the night is so important – you have to change your training, go for three rounds flat out, get out for a couple of minutes and then go again for three rounds.
“It's about building up your powers of recovery, it's a lot different from the pro game normally as you are looking to pace yourself, looking to increase the pace depending on how your opponent handles both the pressure and your skills. Tactically it's flat out then stop so training is the key, but it's great for the fans to watch and the fighters love it too.”
McGuigan believes that fighters fresh from the amateur game could have an advantage with the three three-minute round format suiting their level of experience.
“It is interesting that Jon-Lewis Dickinson won the cruiserweight night – the fact that he wasn't long out of the amateur game he could easily revert back to the sprint-stop-sprint-stop sort of style, I think that's what you have got to do when you are preparing for Prizefighter,” said McGuigan.
“Coming from the amateurs to the pros you tend to slow down a bit, particularly with the 4x2s as opposed to the 3x3s, what you do is try to get them to slow down a bit, become a little bit tighter defensively, drop your pace but keep the explosiveness.”
Casey came out on top of what has been described as the best Prizefighter to date and McGuigan believes that the 28 year-old
“I thought Casey coped brilliantly with the format,” said McGuigan. “He's a tough kid, a real throwback. He's very strong, determined lad and despite coming in at the death he didn't care about who he was fighting, his self-confidence shone through and it was definitely the best performance I've seen in Prizefighter, on what was the most competitive event so far too.
“The format is a great recipe but I don't think any of the other nights have produced the intensity that the super-bantamweights did, and Willie was a deserved winner, especially after having to fight a fresh fighter in the final but still managing to win convincingly. He can go on to do some big things, no doubt about that. He's got a good team behind him and he's very driven.”
Joining McGuigan at the last outing for Prizefighter was Carl Frampton, one of the fighters the Irishman now manages who defeated Ian Bailey in his most recent bout on June 10.
Slough’s Bailey was a reserve for the super-bantamweights and Frampton scored a points victory over him to make it six wins from six. McGuigan believes he has a real prospect on his hands in the 23 year-old from Belfast, and said he wouldn’t rule out any of his fighter’s competing for the Prizefighter crown one day.
“Carl was great against Bailey who is a tough kid with just one stoppage against his name and that was through injury,” said McGuigan. “Ian’s tough and durable with a good defence so I’m happy that Carl never lost a round, winning five and drawing one, you can't get much better than that.
"It gave him an idea of what it’s like going six rounds against a kid who is not going to give up, that’s the sort of lessons that guys need to learn coming from the amateur game into the pros. He showed his variety and his punching power, which he still had in the sixth round. There’s little things that we need to adjust but his future looks very bright.
“Whether any of my boys fight in Prizefighter depends on the stage of their careers and the fighter that they are, but it’s certainly a brilliant learning curve and can open so many doors,” said McGuigan.
The Prizefighter Super Middleweights sees public vote winner Tony Salam from London joins Dudley’s Sam Horton fresh from his title fight with James DeGale, former British Masters champion Eddie McIntosh, Unbeaten Welshman Jeff Evans, Northampton’s Paul David, Waltham Abbey’s Daniel Cadman, Peter Fedorenko from Sheffield and the youngest ever boxer in Prizefighter, 19 year-old Patrick Mendy, in gunning for the title – tickets are available now at £35 (unreserved), £60 (ringside) and £100 (VIP) – call Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.