SUPER SUB Robert Lloyd-Taylor 18-7 (5 KOs) became Prizefighter light-middleweight champion after being selected by the flip of a coin ten minutes before the start of the event.
Lloyd-Taylor came through a tough draw at York Hall on Thursday night to win the tournament and prize money of £32,000, after reality TV star JJ Bird had fainted in the changing room just moments before the in-the-ring draw.
The Hayes fighter faced tricky opposition in two-time world champion Takaloo 26-8 (17), favourite Peter Vaughan 3-1-1 (1) and then in the final scouse warrior Nick Quigley 11-1.
Quigley came into the final having been in a war in the second semi with Kris Agyei-Dua 4-1 which had the whole of York Hall on their feet, with both fighters getting a standing ovation at the end. It wasn’t a fight for defences. Having had a 15 minute break, the scouse fighter returned to the ring but Lloyd-Taylor managed to edge each round to lift the trophy.
The west-London born boxer did not have the easiest of tasks when the live draw in the ring pit him against veteran Takaloo. It was a close call, the former world champion took the first round but the late reserve was able to outbox his 35-year-old opponent to pick up the split-decision verdict. It sent him through to a semi final contest with favourite Vaughan who came through a closely-fought quarter with Wayne Goddard 9-1 (2).
Vaughan stuck to his wild and passionate style but Lloyd-Taylor’s greater boxing skills told and his success with the upper-cut proved the difference. Especially in the last round when Vaughan slumped to the canvas after one of them upper-cuts broke the Banbury fighter’s defence. With 15 seconds remaining the referee stopped the semi-final as Vaughan was in no condition to continue having been on the receiving end of a lethal combination.
Quigley, who only got his chance after the withdrawal of Daniel Herdman, started his path to the final against fellow scouser and friend Stephen Harkin 5-2-2 (1) in what seemed a comfortable win but was given as a split-decision triumph.
The 22-year-old went on to face Agyei-Dua in an explosive three rounds, who had squeezed through by the referee’s decision after a first-time draw in the competition with Irish boxer Jeff Thomas 9-7-2 (1). Both showed great heart not to hit the canvas as it was attack v attack both forgetting their defensive duties. Both fighters’ best defence was their chins as Quigley and Brentwood-based Agyei-Dua traded powerful blows in the centre of the ring. It was the second of two semi-finals.
At a slight disadvantage due to the rest time coming into the final Quigley felt if he had that bit longer it could well have been a different outcome, he told UNDISPUTED, “I think if I went out there having had a 20 minute break it would have been a different outcome.
The first fight took a lot out of me, fighting a friend at that stage I was gutted. Then going into a war in the second fight, I thought I actually had it in there in the final but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Lloyd-Taylor was ecstatic when Undisputed interviewed him, “To be Prizefighter champion is great I am over the moon. It was hard coming in at short notice but I am over the moon. From the time I found out and when I was in the ring it was about 10 minutes. I hadn’t even warmed up. JJ was out, it was a flip of the coin I chose tails and I was in.
I took the hardest route to win and I have come through it. I think that’s given me some credibility I am well happy. This now definitely gives me a massive platform in terms of my career but I am not going to jump the gun, I will just see what comes now.”
It could be argued as one of the most drama filled events in its 20th edition of Matchroom Sport’s Prizefighter. The draw was made inside the ring just minutes before the first quarter final there was a first ever draw in the competition and also the romance of a reserve taking the crown.
Eddie Hearn spoke to Undisputed after the event claiming he thought it was the best Prizefighter to date, “It was possibly the best one, the crowd was unbelievable, Peter Vaughan was an inspiration, Robert Lloyd-Taylor was classy out of nowhere, Nick Quigley showed so much heart and bottle and Kris Agyei-Dua got up from being knocked down to reach the semis. There are so many stories and even before with JJ Bird fainting in the dressing room.
It is what Prizefighter is all about the drama, the stories. No one left until the end there was drama right the way through the night and the draw at the start threw everyone up in the air. It wasn’t like a normal night where you can predict the results of the undercard. It is boring, no one wants to see that.
I don’t really like using reserves but one of the guys has fainted in the changing room, so he is in just before the start. That has never happened before. The last event, the welterweight one I felt was quite poor to be honest. So I wanted to bounce back and we have bounced back big time and off the back of the Belfast event last week. It is sweet.”
Greg Grimes at ringside