Prizefighter: Two fight novice Larry Ekundayo claims trophy with late stoppage win over Terry Carruthers

3 Nov

Alan Dawson – London

Larry Ekundayo, 30, went from unheralded two-fight novice to Prizefighter: Light Middleweight III champion in just one evening by decisioning pre-tournament favourite Craig McEwan, out-pointing Kris Carslaw and teekayoing Terry Carruthers in the competition’s climax on Saturday, November 3 at York Hall in Bethnal Green, East London. Ekundayo claims the Prizefighter trophy, a £32,000 winner’s cheque and a £2,000 KO bonus for his efforts.

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Prizefighter final – Dawson’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3
Carruthers
9 9 8
Ekundayo 10 10 10

Judges verdict – Ekundayo by 3rd Rd TKO.

“It feels good, really good,” said Larry ‘The Natural’ to Sky Sports One following the official announcement of his three victories and tournament win. He continued: “Winning the Prizefighter means a lot. I thank Spencer Fearon, my whole team, Eddie Hearn and everyone who has supported me. My style is natural. I can adapt. I can switch. I [wasn’t] gonna fight [him], I [just] boxed him. I didn’t get involved.”

Landing jabs, popping out one-two combinations and keeping Carruthers honest with uppercuts, Ekundayo (5-0-0, 2ko) boxed like he had done throughout the Prizefighter tournament – neatly and in an effective box-and-move style. Carruthers struggled to cut the ring off and the high activity that was synonymous with his quarter/semifinal fights was limited against Ekundayo.

Like reckless non-stop thumping dominated Carruthers’ style, the timing that typified Ekundayo’s was again on show in the competition’s concluding stage as Carruthers left his jaw unprotected long enough for Larry to sneak in hook punches. In the second round, Ekundayo even began showboating, much to his raucous supporters delight, who were jubilant in the last stanza as Carruthers’ legs looked shot the more Ekundayo controlled the pace, power and distance of the duel.

Ekundayo’s crowning moment occurred 30 seconds prior to the final bell as he secured an early finish, stopping Carruthers on his feet following a bombardment that had the latter momentarily shellacked. Carruthers disputed the call while Ekundayo was hoisted atop his cornerman’s shoulders and celebrated a Rocky style tournament win – and knockout win bonus – going 3-0-0, 1ko for his night’s work.

Manager Spencer Fearon said of his charge that Ekundayo will likely drop down to 147lbs after making a name for himself in the British light middleweight division: “I’ve been harrassing Eddie Hearn for ages! We’re gonna drop down to welterweight [now], but watch out!”

Tournament winner Ekundayo (third from right). Credit: Lawrence Lustig

Semifinal results

While Kris Carslaw was the more experienced pro boxer it was Ekundayo who had all the ring nous in the first semifinal of the night. Having only three bouts on his resume (including the Craig McEwan win earlier in the evening), Ekundayo found it easy timing his left hands into Carslaw’s mouth.The result was never in doubt as the Stoke Newington-based Nigerian booked his place in the tournament final with a points triumph by boxing in such an aesthetically-pleasing fashion that it belied his novice status.

Navid Mansouri made Carruthers look wild, reckless and desperate as early as the opening round of semifinal number two. With intuitive head movement, elusive body movement and his strong shots to the body, it was blatant that a monumental gap in technical skills between the two was evident. Navid’s accuracy alone was not enough to deter Carruthers, however, who remained game and, in the second round, threw shots in Mansouri’s vicinity; most of which clobbered his guard. The longer the fight went on, though, the more it suited Carruthers, whose determined approach won over the crowd, and the judges, as he swaggered into the Prizefighter final with a split decision.

Quarterfinal results

Crowd-favourite Ekundayo split decisioned McEwan in a competitive and energy-sapping quarterfinal that saw McEwan cut in the opening round, Ekyndayo beaten through the ropes in the second and Scotsman Craig almost doubling Larry’s output over the nine rounds of pugilism.

There was little to separate Carslaw from Ryan Toms in the second quarterfinal as both boxers were evenly matched on the punch statistics yet the judges favoured Carslaw’s work with two point tallies of 29-28 overturning one of 28-29 to Toms.

Carruthers and Peter Vaughan slugged it out in the third fight of the night with bad intentions from the off. Each shot was dispatched with the hope it knocked the other’s block back and the York Hall fans broke into song and chants within seconds. Surprisingly, the barnburner of a club-fight went the distance but the judges regarded Carruthers to be the greater of the bruisers and awarded him a unanimous score.

The crude brawling nature of Curtis Valentine was matched with the combination-punching ability of Mansouri in the fourth and final quarterfinal and, like Carruthers v Vaughan, both combatants relentlessly pursued the £2,000 KO bonus. Mansouri’s shots to the body were particularly noteworthy and was deserving of more than his narrow split decision victory.

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One Response to “Prizefighter: Two fight novice Larry Ekundayo claims trophy with late stoppage win over Terry Carruthers”

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  1. 2011-2012 News Archive « On The Beak - January 17, 2013

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