After a fourteen year sabbatical Mark Prince returned to the championship fray on Saturday night, in doing so adds the MBC International title to the WBO and IBF Inter-Continental title honours he won in the 1990s
Mark Prince added the MBC International Championship belt to his trophy cabinet, following a unanimous points victory over Czech Republic’s Jiri Svacina, at York Hall in London on Saturday night.
Since his return to the sport in October last year, to raise awareness for the Kiyan Prince Foundation – Prince’s son Kiyan, a talented young footballer with Queens Park Rangers who was murdered in 2006, the foundation in his name is dedicated to educating young people against knife crime – Prince had only two bouts prior to facing Svacina, both ended well within the distance, leaving most observers expecting an explosive early finish from the Tottenham man.
However, no one took into account just how tough and awkward an opponent Svacina is, or just how much the sparring sessions with Wladimir Klitschko had added to his game.
From the start it was clear this was going to be a technical fight, both protagonists taking it really slow, feeling each other out with strong jabs but little else.
Throughout the early rounds Prince mainly used his jab to try and work an opening, but Svacina is a savvy character, keeping his awkward guard in place throughout.
As the rounds progressed, without too much out and out action, referee Steve Holdsworth pulled the pair together, to give them a stiff talking to about the lack of action, after which both reacted with a flurry of attacks.
Without doubt the best attacks came from Prince, who controlled centre ring throughout, however Svacina’s countering kept the Londoner in check.
After the final bell rang, there was no surprise that it was Mark Prince that was announced victorious, by unanimous decision.
Judges Tony Cesay and Lee Murtagh scored the bout 100-90, whilst judge Keith Webb scored the bout 100 -93.
Following the bout Mark Prince said, “Firstly I must thank Shyam (promoter Shyam Batra) for giving me this opportunity and Baz (Rehman) for sponsoring the fight.
He’s (Svacina) an awkward customer, he frustrated me, I wanted to step things up but couldn’t risk it, he throws shots from unusual angles.
I’m happy to have gone the distance, it’s good to get the rounds in, though disappointed for the fans that the fight was not that thrilling to watch.
Winning the title mean so much to me, but it means much more to the memory of my wonderful talented son Kiyan and those we help through the Kiyan Prince Foundation.
That’s what this is all about, it’s not personal glory, it’s to show the young people, that the KPF come into contact with that anything is possible, if you want it and are dedicated enough you too can be a winner.”
Due to a spate of late injuries and pullouts on the proposed ten fight card, including a very late ham string injury for former England amateur Captain Antonio Counihan, the decimated card featured just five bouts.
With the loss of the second MBC International title fight, also due to injury, the revised main support bout also featured a recent returnee, George ‘Hit Hard’ Hillyard, who faced tough Irishman Tommy ‘The Tiger’ Tolan.
An enthralling close fought, bloody affair, that entertained the York Hall faithful from start to finish, this bout quite rightly earned the accolade of Fight of the Night.
After six all action rounds the bloodied Hillyard came out on top by a 59-55 points decision from referee Steve Holdsworth.
In the third bout of the night American Manny Muhammad secured another solid win, over Lithuania’s Ernastas Dapkus. Referee Lee Murtagh scoring the bout 39-37
Former amateur star Nathan ‘Nightmare’ Decastro survived a major scare in the build up to the fight, just one week earlier suffering a serious ankle injury – so serious that initially it was diagnosed as broken! but you wouldn’t have thought it by his performance. Decastro pressured tough Lithuanian Sergej Drob for virtually every second of the four round out, to secure a 40-36 points victory.
The opening bout featured the highly rated former Senegalese amateur star Matar Sambou making his professional debut, against Tadas Stulginskas, who KO’d Suz Member in just over a minute on his last visit to York Hall back in March.
It was another short fight for Stulginskas, although this time it was Sambou in the ascendance, stopping the Lithuanian in just one minute and forty seconds of the first round.
Without doubt it was a baptism of fire for new promoter Shyam Batra, one that he came through with flying colours. Congratulations are also in order for the Malta Boxing Commission who sanctioned the event.
The Baz Rehman sponsored Mark Prince versus Jiri Svacina MBC International Cruiserweight title clash and the support bouts, were broadcast live on-line by Boxing Evolution, repeat plays are available on www.boxingevolution.tv.