Belfast Telegraph

Rea aims to upset Prizefighter odds

By David Kelly

Ballymena man Joe Rea is quite simply the embodiment of what Sky television’s Prizefighter event is all about and on Saturday night at the King’s Hall he bids to transform his career.

The Prizefighter concept, brought about by Matchroom supremo Barry Hearn, has been the avenue for so many fighters to a higher level, such as the first winner Martin Rogan who went on to become Commonwealth heavyweight champion.

Rea’s career has seen him develop into a solid journeyman and he has already lost to fellow prizefighter competitor Eamonn O’Kane, Northern Ireland’s 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

But now he has prepared himself for battle as never before with the carrot of a £32,000 jackpot dangling in front of him.

“I’ve moved camps to train with Kevin Maree in Gisburn, Lancashire and since then I have gone from strength to strength,” he said.

“It’s just a sleepy village in the middle of nowhere but it’s ideal for a boxer who wants to get his head down and train. They have got me in amazing condition and brought in top class sparring that you simply couldn’t pay for.

“I’ve done countless rounds with Commonwealth gold medallist Kenny Anderson, unbeaten Liverpool prospect Joe Selkirk and the current British Light Heavyweight champion Tony Bellew. I don’t think that many people will recognise me.

“Since I have been away I have been spurred on by the wave of support from home and it’s really driven me on to go that extra mile.

“People have been following my progress on Facebook and Twitter and seen the strides I have taken from the pictures and videos I have posted. They’ve seen that I’ve put my all into this which maybe I haven’t in the past and they have really got behind me.

“I’ve sold over 200 tickets for it to people all around County Antrim and that support could well be crucial to me in the ring.

“I’ve been boxing all these years and finally my big break has come. I realise what a massive opportunity this is and so do my fans. Nothing is going to get in my way.

“I am going to become Prizefighter champion.”

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