Boxing - Welshman Chris Jenkins impresses with a dominant Prizefighter performance

Swansea's Chris Jenkins is the 31st Prizefighter champion after dominating in his three bouts and dropping Hackbridge's Danny Connor in the final to top up his £32,000 prize.

Boxing - Welshman Chris Jenkins impresses with a dominant Prizefighter performance

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Welshman Chris Jenkins impresses with a dominant Prizefighter performance

Although the favourite going in, Jenkins was little known outside Wales before the action got underway, but will have plenty of people talking about a future Welsh star after energetic and intelligent performances in all three bouts.

First up was one of the favourites, Hackbridge's Danny Connor - a crafty boxer who lulls his opponents into a false sense of security while outworking them from the back foot. He faced Islington's Charlie Rice, already suffering from a badly swollen eye before he entered the ring. This wasn't visible at the weigh-in yesterday, and must have happened hours beforehand. Apparently it was touch and go as to whether he would be allowed to take part.

Connor's back footwork edged the first as Rice's shots fell short, and Connor was too crafty to allow him any room to get inside. This continued in the second, with Rice looking for big, single shots, and walking through Connor's work without landing much of his own.

Rice upped his game in the closer, and Connor expended a lot of energy in trying to keep him off. Judges scored 29-28 twice and 30-27 for Crafty Connor. Champagne Charlie earned his money. Whatever happened to his eye before the fight would have affected his performance, but a return would be a cracking small hall fight over ten rounds.

It's fair to say that Ryan 'Crash Bang' Taylor's professional career hasn't yet caught fire, but tonight was an opportunity to live up to his moniker. Taylor, from Upminster, was in with Southampton's Matty Tew (12-1), and the pair wasted no time in getting stuck into each other. Tew's delivery was quick and solid. He staggered Taylor with a right hand early on before Taylor settled down a little and produced the better work to see out the round.

Tew was stronger and quicker in the first half of the second, and forced Taylor off balance several times. He pushed his head into Tew in frustration, causing referee Mark Green to administer a stern warning, and could have seen a point taken off. After this, Taylor finished the round strongly, landing with two clean right hands before the bell. The third session was close. Tew was surprisingly energetic, but the cleaner work came from the Upminster man. Taylor got the nod 29-28 from all three judges.

Fight of the night was between Bushey Heath's Southern area lightweight champion Liam Shinkwin and Rotherhithe's Eren Arif, who was taking part in just his fourth professional bout. Shinkwin admits himself that he 'sometimes lacks nastiness' which is unfortunate because Arif had plenty. He marched through Shinkwin and landed some meaty punches, dominating the opening session.

Shinwin's movement was a bit better in the second, but nothing he could muster punch wise would put the tough, come-forward Arif off his stride, who went over from a slip in the closer, but straight after he started to bully Shinkwin around, knocking him down in the corner for a count and wobbling him in an exciting finish. Shinkwin just about saw the bell. A bit of an upset. Judges scored two lots of 30-26 and a 29-27 for Arif, who was highly entertaining.

The day before, Swansea's Chris Jenkins was the 3-1 favourite, and you could immediately see why against the more experienced Carshalton southpaw Tony Owen. The Welsh bundle of energy swarmed Owen and didn't give him any space. He set a fast pace, and was keen to get involved in a close range tear-up, targetting head and body successfully.

Jenkins' blistering pace didn't let up in the second. The fight continued the way he wanted it to, and he had repeated success with inside uppercuts. Owen soaked up plenty of solid body shots, but his own work had little effect on the Welshman and he couldn't step away to throw from distance, which is his game.  Judges scored 30-27 for Jenkins thrice, setting up a semi final with Arif.

Crash Bang Taylor looked a bit more composed in the first semi against Danny Connor, but was wasteful with his power shots while Connor was reluctant to get involved and concentrated on his jab.

The second was close and difficult to score. Taylor had more balance problems, and stumbled to the canvas while Connor continued to throw, but came back with two good right hands before the bell.

Taylor was in control in the closer before the Crafy Connor made him touch down by landing a shot on his forehead. Taylor remonstrated with referee Ian John Lewis, but the call was good. Connor scored a more convincing knockdown straight afterwards by rushing over to chin Taylor, who tried to load up after he rose, but with little time left in the round, lost the decision by 28-27, 29-27 and 30-26.

Eren Arif, who was marked up, couldn't stage a repeat his dominant quarter final performance. Jenkins showed a different side to his game in the opening round, keeping Arif away with a jab, and easily dealing with the incoming hooks.

Arif's industry didn't get him anywhere in the second either. He was outworked and made to miss by Jenkins, who boxed with much more class than his experience suggests. And although Arif tried to get closer in the third, he wasn't able to give Jenkins anything like the treatment he gave Shinkwin. That said, nothing much was expected from Arif, but the Rotherhithe novice, managed by Miranda Carter, was good value for his £8,000 wage.

In the final, which took place after Kevin Mitchell's eight round return against Frenchman Sebastien Benito in which the Dagenham lightweight cruised to an 80-71 points win, Southern Area champion Connor wasn't quite crafty enough to handle an exuberant Jenkins, who continued his dominance and shook Connor to his boots at the end of the first with a huge right, following up to put him down with seconds left in the round. Jenkins piled in with punches, but Connor survived to hear the bell.

Half a minute into the second, Connor was floored again with follow-ups from another big right hand. Connor stayed down, and knew he wouldn't have been able to budge a rampant Jenkins. The stoppage was (incorrectly) announced at 14 seconds into round two.

Unknown outside of Wales, the 31st edition of Prizefighter unearthed a potential star in Jenkins. He was on a different plane to the competition, and dealt with three varying challenges easily, showing several facets to his game in the process. Rumours about Olympian heavyweight signings aside, Jenkins could be Matchroom's next star and shine brightly for Wales.

After the fight, Eddie Hearn told Sky's Edwin Robinson said: "They say the cream rises to the top. He was on a different level tonight. His fitness was unbelievable. A great engine, and now he's 10-0. 

“Darren Hamilton won tonight [in Liverpool against Adil Anwar, defending the British light welterweight title], and I don't think he's far away from a challenge like that. He stung me for two grand at the end, just to rub it in. Well done."

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