Devine ready for Prizefighter “I know I'm not the favourite but I'm coming to win"
By Michael J Jones
This Saturday at York Hall, Matchroom's popular Prizefighter series continues with the latest Lightweight edition of the tournament. While the line-up is headed by experienced men in former PF champion Gary Buckland and Salford's Stephen Foster Jr, the other participants are all decent level fighters and prospects.
One man in the latter category is Luton's Michael “Chunky” Devine. The 25 year old has done little wrong so far in his 11-1-1 (3) career and has already claimed the Southern Area super-featherweight and Masters titles. His only blemish was an early stoppage defeat to the more-experienced Mark Alexander with the draw in his last bout to Danny Cassius Connor two months ago.
The British Masters Gold match was heating up to be an entertaining affair before Connor suffered a cut following a head-clash where upon the contest was ruled a technical draw. The plucky Connor interestingly will be also in Saturday's tournament.
Livefight caught up with “Chunky” to talk Prizefighter and his career to date and we found the Luton man to be extremely confident of clearing up this Saturday.
LF) Firstly, how has training gone for Prizefighter?
MD) I've just finished my last hard day of training today and I couldn't have asked for a better camp it's been spot on.
LF) The man many are tipping to win on Saturday is former champion Gary Buckland. He looked sensational the last time he boxed in Prizefighter (outscoring Stevie Bell before knocking out both Gary Sykes and Derry Mathews) do you expect him to be as dangerous this time?
MD) He might be the favourite but he's had a tough career and has probably slowed a bit since those fights with Gavin Rees. I honestly think it will be one of the young guns that will cause the upset and win on Saturday.
LF) Your PR man Tim Rickson tells me you're very confident for this tournament and that you've said it doesn't matter who you face you'll beat them on route to winning the tournament. Do you stand by that statement?
MD) Yes 100%. I wouldn't have entered unless I was certain of winning. I'm not just there to make up numbers I'm coming to win....and become 32k richer.
LF) You last boxed in September against Danny Connor with the bout ending prematurely. There was quite a lot of needle before that fight and obviously it didn't end with any clarity. In an ideal world would you face Connor in a rematch on Saturday?
MD) Yes definitely and I look forward to it if we do get matched. The last fight we went at each other hell for leather before the cut. If we fight again we can pick up where we left off.
LF) You turned pro over five years ago and are 11-1-1; are you happy with your career so far?
MD) I'm fairly happy but I've also not been as busy as I'd have liked to have been. I had to have a year out as I had an issue with my management contract which I had to go to the board to sort out. I also had a year out due to a hand injury so I see it as I've been a pro for three years not five.
Right now I'm looking forward to winning Prizefighter and then pushing on next year for more titles.
LF) Your only defeat was a three-round knock-out loss to Mark Alexander in 2010. What happened there?
MD) It was just a learning thing, I was new to the pro game, didn't make weight right and was weakened and I think the occasion just got to me a bit. No excuses though as it made me a better fighter and person and I learned a lot from it.
I wanted an immediate return as I knew I hadn't shown what I could do and was very confident of winning a rematch but it just never came off for whatever reason.
LF) If you made yourself the favourite for Saturday who would you make the second favourite to take the trophy?
MD) I'm not making myself the favourite as there are guys who have been mixing it for titles and competing at a higher level than me. Obviously Buckland is a tough fighter as well as Foster Jr. Danny Connor also went far the last time he was in Prizefighter and Floyd Moore is a former Southern Area champion so it's a solid line-up and it should make for a cracking tournament.
LF) Every fighter goes into the tournament with their own tactics, some try and pace themselves while others go hell for leather from the bell of the first fight. What will your own tactics be on the night?
MD) I'll be setting a quick pace from the first bell, look to get the first fight out of the way and just take it from there. If I see someone is hurt and that I can finish him I'll go for the stoppage. I'm good at adapting in fights and I know I can box, fight and punch.
LF) All the best for Saturday Michael, is there anyone you'd like to thank before we conclude?
MD) I'd just like to thank my team and sponsors for their continued help. Also thanks to all the Luton fans who come to my fights and create such a great atmosphere by making a big noise! I'm really looking forward to Prizefighter and I'm looking forward to a big future.
Full Prizefighter line up:-
Michael Devine, Luton, 11-1-1 (3)
Stephen Foster Jr, Salford, 33-5-1 (19)
Gary Buckland, Cardiff, 28-5 (9)
Danny Connor, Hackbridge, 11-8-2 (0)
Lee Martin, Essex, 6-1 (0)
Jono Carroll, Dublin, 3-0 (1)
Floyd Moore, Fareham, 10-5-1 (7)
Craig Whyatt, Morden, 7-2 (3)
Reserves; Rakheem Noble and Craig Woodruff
The show will also feature a ten-round super-featherweight contest between Martin J Ward and Maxi Hughes which is also a final eliminator for the British title. The coverage begins 8pm this Saturday live on Sky Sports 2 HD.