Belfast Telegraph

Sinclair fails to spark as Prizefighter dream dies

By David Kelly

Neil Sinclair’s bid for the £32,000 jackpot in the York Hall, Bethnael Green last night ended in an agonising split decision defeat to Welshman Bradley Pryce.

Sinclair made a ragged start and was caught frequently in the first round with his knees shuddering from a left to the top of his head in this second quarter-final of the Prizefighter light-middleweights tournament.

Both men came out looking to land their bombs but many of the 36-year-old former British welterweight champion’s blows fell short.

A head clash in the second opened up a cut around Sinclair’s left eye but that didn’t stop him settling down to do some of his best work.

Working well with his jab against former Commonwealth light-middleweight champion Pryce, Sinclair edged the second.

It all came down to the final round and clearly the judges were divided.

Sinclair gave it everything in the last three minutes as the cut seemed to worsen but he was caught with the single whipping blows of Pryce.

The Welshman was given a split verdict of 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 and moved through to a semi-final clash with Prince Arron, where he was beaten on a unanimous decision.

Sinclair had hoped that Prizefighter would continue his recent revival, having picked up the Irish title last year.

But, even though this was just a three rounder, his hopes of a clash with European light-middleweight champion Ryan Rhodes would now look over.

The sharpness that had been seen in his last two fights simply wasn’t there, a point which coach John Breen agreed with.

Breen said: “I was very disappointed with Neil’s performance. He never really got his boxing going.

“I can’t argue with the decision, I thought he was beaten. It’s a pity because I know he can box an awful lot better and he has done so in his last two fights.

“I thought the first two rounds were quite even and I told him he had to step it up and push Pryce back in the last round but he just couldn’t do it. I’m not sure where he goes from here. He’s still Irish champion but we’ll sit down and have a chat and see.”

In the opening quarter-final, Prince Arron — once a knockout loser at the hands of John Duddy – defeated George Hillyard 30-27 on all the judges cards.

The same verdict was given to southpaw Brett Flournoy over Danny Butler in their quarter-final.

Meanwhile, European super-middleweight champion Brian Magee has been informed that his mandatory challenger will be Ukrainian Stas Kashtanov.

An agreement for the fight to take place has to be reached by April 30, while the Belfast man is hopeful of having a voluntary in May.

Manager Pat Magee is currently in negotiations for a long term deal with British promoters to see who can take the Belfast man towards a World title shot.

Magee’s stock has risen dramatically since he won the European belt with a stoppage in over Denmark’s Mads Larsen and he is already ranked in the top 10 of the WBA and WBC.

Manager Magee said: “We’ve had offers from everybody and we’re looking to tie something up within the next week.

“It’s important that we have somebody who can take Brian along the path we want towards a World title fight.”

Magee will not be boxing on the David Haye bill in April in Manchester.

Belfast Telegraph

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