For the first time in boxing history eight boxers from eight different countries come together on one night in a celebration of world heavyweight boxing at the Prizefighter International Heavyweights this Saturday (May 7).
The fighters taking part at Alexandra Palace live on Sky Sports from 9pm have arrived in London as for the first time ever Matchroom Sport’s eight-man, one night tournament sees fighters from all four corners of the globe aiming to be crowned the first International Prizefighter King.
Germany’s Konstantin Airich, Canada-based American Tye Fields and Trinidadian Kerston ‘Warrior’ Manswell (pictured) – who replaces Fres Oquendo in the line-up – were the first to arrive at their Tower Bridge base and the remaining fighters will join them on Tuesday, when Sky Sports will put them through their paces in the promotional shoot before they battle it out for the £32,000 winner’s cheque.
“I’m thrilled to be over here and fighting in Prizefighter – it's a great concept and I wish we had something similar in Germany,” said Airich. “Everybody knows that the British sports fans in general and boxing fans in particular are the best fans in the world. They are so enthusiastic and supportive and they really know boxing.
“Some of them will surely remember my fight against Danny Williams in Spain in 2008. It was a great fight and I think I would have had a chance of winning had I not broken my hand in the early rounds when I knocked him down. The end was very controversial but I had nothing to do with that.”
Airich faces Lucian Bot – the unbeaten Romanian who has replaced Juan Carlos Gomez, forced to withdraw through visa issues – in the fourth quarter-final and the 32 year-old from Hamburg is hoping that victory in Prizefighter will raise his profile as he aims to rebuild his career.
“I have been struggling recently, losing fights I shouldn't have lost and drawing with Alexey Mazykin twice,” said Airich. “This tournament is my big chance to start over. Of course, I know how many people are watching Prizefighter and that winning the tournament would help me to gain a lot of attention. I want to prove to myself, my critics and the whole boxing world that I am capable of winning important fights and achieving great things.
“Anything can happen in the tournament. I am an aggressive and explosive fighter so you could say that bouts with lesser rounds suit my style but in the end the better man will always win the fight regardless of whether it's three, four, six, eight or ten rounds. I have had about 100 amateur fights with only a handful of losses. I was German amateur champion in 2006 and turned pro directly after that so I never had the chance to prove myself at international amateur tournaments.”
The rest of the line-up is made up of Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson, the American who took Vitali Klitschko the distance in a world title fight in December 2009, his only defeat in 25 fights, Gregory Tony, the French Heavyweight champion who fought for the European title in August, UK Prizefighter champion Michael Sprott and Cuban Mike Perez, who has won all of his 13 pro fights – 10 by knockout.
Tickets for Prizefighter International Heavyweights at London’s Alexandra Palace on Saturday 7 May are available from Matchroom Sport priced £35 unreserved, £50 and £60 ringside and £120 VIP – to buy call Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.
Revised Prizefighter International Heavyweights Draw
Quarter-final one: Mike Perez v Kerston Manswell
Quarter-final two: Kevin Johnson v Gregory Tony
Quarter-final three: Michael Sprott v Tye Fields
Quarter-final four: Lucian Bot v Konstantin Airich