Gutsy showing can't save Sam in Prizefighter

First published in Local Sport

A BARNSTORMING performance was not enough to save Sam Eggington from an early exit in Prizefighter.

The 19-year-old showed plenty of heart but was eventually beaten on points by Wales’ Dale Evans, after the two welterweights slugged out a thrilling three round quarter-final.

Fellow Stourbridge man Steven Pearce also exited at the same stage as he was stopped in the second round by Sunderland’s Glenn Foot.

The latter went on to beat Evans in a dramatic final to claim the £32,000 cash prize, after a superb night of boxing at a packed out Wolverhampton Civic Hall last night.

Eggington made history as the youngest fighter ever to appear on the one night, eight man, three-rounds-a-fight tournament and made the most of his first appearance in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

The former Warley amateur star stated he had nothing to lose in the build-up and didn’t disappoint, fighting like it was his last day on earth.

Eggington’s aggressive approach almost cost him dear inside the opening minute as he was caught flush by a left-right-left combination, which left him stumbling back and looking toward the ceiling. Somehow he was able to stay off the canvas and after gathering himself, began to find the target with shots of his own.

It was frenetic stuff as Eggington landed early in the second round and Evans then countered, both men happy to go toe-to-toe for long periods.

The pattern continued into the third, though by now Evans seemed to be landing the more telling blows as he finished the stronger. All three ringside judges gave him the fight, with two scoring it 29-28 and the other handing him all three rounds but while Eggington will be no doubt disappointed, his all-action display did his reputation no harm.

Sadly the same could not be said of Pearce, who failed to really get going as he lost out to Foot.

A scrappy opening round saw the Stourbridge fighter struggle to make his punches land, though a solid left just seconds before the bell seemed to help his confidence.

But things quickly began to go wrong the in the second. Falling forward, Pearce was went down under a swinging right from Foot and took an eight count.

The damage seemed minimal at first but soon he was shipping solid blows as Foot began to up the tempo. Pearce hit the canvas for a second time after being wrestled to the ground by his opponent and while it wasn’t ruled a knockdown, the Stourbridge was visibly struggling and after another flurry of shots from Foot, referee Steve Gray stepped in to end it.

Foot went on to beat Chad Gaynor in the semi-finals, while Evans dumped out pre-tournament favourite Mark Thompson over a brutal three rounds.

Sceptics may have wondered how much each man had left in the tank but the final turned out to be the fight of the night.

Both fighters dished out as good as they got in a fight which had the fans on their feet, Foot eventually winning on a split decision, with most at ringside agreeing it could have gone either way.

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