The third instalment of Ultimate Boxxer, an eight-man tournament in the mould of the old Prizefighter series, comes to London this Friday night. Its three, three minute rounds with the event played to a finish all on one night.The Indigo at the O2 Arena is the venue, where the combatants will be vying for £50,000 in the fast paced competition. BT Sport are also on board for the first time.It will be the Middleweights on show in the capital, and the first quarter final sees the betting favourite take centre stage.
Northampton’s Kieron Conway (10-0, KO3) is a short 19/10 with tournament sponsors, Mansionbet to win the tournament, and he meets rank outsider, Kaan Hawes (5-0-1, KO0) in the first match.
Conway has gone through his paid career the far on a diet of the usual trial horses. He gained a spot on a JD NXTGEN show in his last outing, where he won every round against the durable Gabor Gorbics in an eight rounder in Peterborough. Essex resident Hawes has one blemish on his record, a four round draw with Duane Green in March last year.
The main threat to Conway will be Southern Area Champion, Tey Lynn Jones (11-1, KO2). He kicks off his campaign against Nottingham based, unknown quantity, Derrick Osaze (6-0, KO1).
Jones has fought at a much higher level than Osaze, with him picking up the Southern Area belt in March last year with a seventh round retirement win against MH Legg. He defended four months later with a points win against Darren Cordona.
Osaze is largely unknown and has fought on small hall shows against journeyman opposition.
The third quarter final sees Gravesend’s Sean Phillips (5-0-1, KO1) take on Uttoxeter’s Josh Groombridge (7-1, KO4).
Phillips starts as warm favourite in this contest, with his only setback a debut draw against Anthony Fox in July 2017. Groombridge lost his unbeaten record in April last year, when the then 3-10 Emmanuel Moussinga dropped him twice, before stopping him in seven rounds. He rebounded with a four round points win in September of 2018 against Paul Cummings.
The final quarter final sees joint second favourite with the tournament sponsors, Grant Dennis (12-1, KO2) face a tricky test against Clacton’s Joe Hurn (10-0-1, KO6).
Dennis is also a former Southern Area Champion, picking up the Title in November 2016 by outpointing Nicky Jenman. His only loss was in a step up in class, narrowly outscored in a challenge for the English Title against Elliott Matthews in December 2017. He has two straight wins since.
Hurn is another small hall regular, and his only setback was a draw against well travelled and tough William Warburton back in 2017.
With a Conway v Jones semi final likely, I think the winner may well come from the bottom half of the draw. These events are notoriously tough to predict, with cuts and shocks regularly a factor.
My tentative pick is for Grant Dennis to come through the carnage to pick up the bounty, and significantly enhance his profile. I feel his experience in domestic Championship class will cost for a lot here. Although Conway is a clear favourite for the competition, he has yet to make a significant step up, and this could be his downfall in London.