17th May 2011
Recently I undertook an interview with former IBO Light welterweight World Champion Colin Lynes on his career to date. With the news that Colin is to take part in the Matchroom Sports excellent Prizefighter – Welterweights II on June 7th I took the opportunity to catch up with Colin again, this time to get his views on Prizefighter, as well as his opponents on June 7th.
Colin, a former finalist of Prizefighter, faced Gavin Rees in the final of the Light Welterweights tournament at Olympia last year.
Prior to meeting Rees in the final Colin (above) first faced David Barnes in the quarter final. After three hotly contested, very close, rounds the judges were split. Two of the judges see it 29-28 for Colin, the third judge also scored it 29-28 but this time in favour of Barnes.
The semi final see Colin come face to face with former foe Young Mutley, who Colin had previously beaten for the European title in 2007. Again Colin would win by split decision, the fight was close throughout but a defining third round knockdown was enough to sway two of the judges to score the bout in Colin’s favour.
The final, against Rees, was a hard fought affair. Colin easily secured the first round with some excellent counter punching. Rees stepped up the pressure in the second and rocked Colin several times on his way to securing the round. With both fighters scoring a round a piece it was all to play for in the final round.
I was ringside on the night and scored the final round even, as did all press corps, and with each winning a round apiece I wondered how they would decide on a winner. Imagine my surprise when the scorecards were read out as 29-28 twice, Ian John-Lewis and Victor Loughlin, and 30-27, Mark Green, all in favour of Gavin Rees.
That’s all water under the bridge now as far as Colin is concerned, as he is back in training with legendary trainer Jimmy Tibbs and his son Mark at the TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town to prepare for Prizefighter – Welterweights II.
It was at the TKO that I caught up with Colin, after yet another sparring session, for a quick chat about the Prizefighter series, as well as to get his thoughts on the other contestants on June 7th.
Rio – Hi Colin thanks taking the time to talk about the upcoming Prizefighter – Welterweights II that you will be taking part in. Please tell the readers your thoughts on the competition.
Colin – Yeah I’m really pleased, it’s a buzzing competition that everyone seems to want to go for. it’s thrilling for the fans, it gets everyone that wouldn’t normally get together get together and have a punch up on the night.
Even the likes of myself, I liked to be classed as a skillful boxer, on the night not just the once you have to prepare for going in the trenches a lot sooner than you would have to in a twelve round fight.
Rio – You’ve been in Prizefighter before, you made the finals of the Light Welters against Gavin Rees. How do you prepare for such a quick paced tournament?
Colin – Lots of stop and start training, you do your three shadow or your three bags or sparring and then you have a little rest and go back in. Sometimes it’s a ten minute rest sometimes it’s only five minutes.
In the Prizefighter last time it’s a good job I did prepare that way for it, because I think it was the quickest anyone had to get back in the ring. After winning the semifinal it was about two and half minutes before I had to get back in for the final.
So, it’s right to prepare, and that’s what I did. I’m ready for whatever they throw at me.
Rio – Let’s talk a little about your opponents on the night, Let’s start with Junior Witter.
Colin – When I fought Junior last I was a bit too much in awe of him. I worked well, I didn’t get outclassed or outgunned in any way but those rounds where the judges just didn’t know who they should give it to they rightly give it to the champion, so that’s what happened in that fight.
If I end up facing Junior again, no doubt he’s not worried about anyone. He’ll respect everyone in that lineup, he’s not going to be worried about anyone, he’s been there and done it twice over and he’s looking to make a name for himself again.
Because of whatever reason I haven’t spoke with him, I will do in the build up to this fight, something went wrong for him in Canada and people have slagged him off, give someone a chance, there’s probably reasons.
I’m not one and I’m looking forward to fighting Junior at his best.
Rio – Bobby Gladman also trains at the TKO Gym, what do you know about him?
Colin – I don’t know too much about Bobby, whether it’s because we miss each other, I train evenings he trains in the daytime so I don’t see too much of him, but I respect anyone that’s in there. I would never overlook anyone, I’d probably be more worried about those who know about me and I don’t know about them. I’ll have to do my homework on him to be honest.
Rio – Fair comment, we’ll move on now to Yassine El Maachi
Colin – I haven’t seen too much of Yassine, but I’ve heard a lot about him. I know I’ve seen him spar at the gym against Michael Lomax once.
He’s a tricky customer, switches and all this. With people like Yassine if you let them do what they are best at doing then he’s going to look great. If you take them out of their comfort zone or you put it on them and don’t give them a chance to do flash stuff then we’ll see what he’s got.
Rio – True, OK Nathan Graham, what do you know of him?
Colin – Nathan Graham, I was supposed to face him a few fights ago, but then I had the Bradley Pryce turnout, so I took the Bradley Pryce fight.
He’s had a fight since we were supposed to get it on, he came out the wrong side, I understand by reading the reports he done really well and he’s a danger man and a big banger no doubt.
Rio – Yeah, I was there at that fight. Next up is Kevin McIntyre
Colin – I’ve got a lot of respect for Kevin, I’ve know him, he’s been around a long time I think he was hard done when he had to vacate his British title. he got his shot back in the end but I don’t think it was at a time when he was expecting it and he got out of there pretty early. He’s come back and proved himself, shown his character and he’ll be up for this big time.
Rio – John Wayne Hibbert, what’s your thoughts on him?
Colin – Yeah, again John’s been around a while. I haven’t seen too much of him but I know people that have sparred him. He’s a tough customer, again rightly so he’s due every respect.
Rio – Peter McDonagh’s next on the list.
Colin, Yeah I know Peter really well, we’ve sparred many, many rounds before he’s always come by our gym and done us favours, we’ve returned favours and helped him out when he’s had big fights. So I know Peter really well.
Again a good tough pro, will always turn up, always gives lots of respect and he’ll be another stiff customer on the night.
Rio – You’re obviously looking to get through to the final again, this time go one better.
Colin – Obviously in my final last time I just tried, I didn’t change anything, I just thought with Gavin Rees being short and stocky, like a bulldog, I thought I’d try and box and outsmart him, but again I have to be honest I gave the first round up trying to do that and ended up having
to chase the fight. It was close, I thought he deserved it because he did win the first round. Big first round and it just shows you that you can’t try and outsmart people, you need to get on with it in Prizefighter and that’s what makes it as exciting and entertaining as it is, you need to get on with things.
Rio – I know Jimmy (Tibbs) says you’re a contender, in fact he says you are more than that, he says you are in your prime and should be challenging for titles now. By taking Prizefighter was this a decision that came easily?
Colin – No, I spoke with Matchroom closely and you run the risk that if you mess up in Prizefighter you do jeopardise a title fight. To be honest with you I could have had the Purdy title fight come September. I heard he was quite comfortable defending against me but it meant sitting out and waiting and there’s nothing worse than sitting about being inactive. When
you believe in yourself and you know what you can do I think just opting out and waiting for things to happen is the wrong way to look at it. You’ve got to get in there, prove, show, earn and get on with things. That’s what I have done by taking on Prizefighter again.
Rio – Over the past year or so it seems that every winner of Prizefighter gets a title shot. Did this influence your decision?
Colin – It did in a way, as I said I could have sat out and waited for the Purdy fight, but by winning Prizefighter that definitely determines that, in my circumstances, that you are next and I’m happy with that. I’m clear in my mind that by winning Prizefighter and I’ll get that title shot.
Rather than waiting I’m going to make it happen.
Some people might disagree that Prizefighter is a short cut but you look at the names that go in Prizefighter, yeah it’s only three fights, but their prepared to go in there and put it on the line against other big names, rightly so you deserve a title shot from winning something like that.
Rio – Prizefighter seems to have risen in stature, originally featuring fighters at the end of their career mixing it with youngsters who’ve yet to get a break, but now it’s become a really important tournament forestablished stars and reaching audiences in excess of 5 Million, why do you think this is?
Colin – I’m not bowing my trumpet but when you get someone like me in it and someone like Junior Witter or Kevin McIntyre, then perhaps they can be a bit more selective on who goes in it. It will come back round when the guys that have had five, whether they won them all or not, their time will come. They’ve got to be patient unfortunately, but it will come around again.
It’s like the Contender series when that first come out and it was supposed to be for those who hadn’t been given their chance and as it becomes popular everybody wants to be in it and you start getting recognised names in it.
Barry Hearn is very good at what he does and that’s why he come up with this concept, and his Son mustn’t forget Eddie he’s a big part of this, he’s sort of geed his Dad up and it’s working really well.
They reach an audience that wouldn’t normally watch a twelve rounder because it’s long winded, which is more like a game of snooker or chess match init. They’ve geed things up and made it over in a little while. You can watch a fight and when it’s over go and make a cup of coffee and then the next one’s on. It’s brilliant and reaching a different audience.
Rio – Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today and good luck on June 7th.
Colin – Thank you Rio.
Interview by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
Interview by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
Prizefighter – Welterweights II, featuring Colin Lynes, Junior Witter, Yassine El Maachi, Kevin McIntyre, Nathan Graham, Peter McDonagh, John Wayne Hibbert and Bobby Gladman, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.
Tickets, priced £35 (Unreserved), £60 (Ringside), and £100 (VIP) are available now at www.tkoboxoffice.com or in person at the TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA or call 07960 850645