Rocky Fielding beats Carl Dilks to win English super-middleweight title
Rocky Fielding stops fellow scouser Carl Dilks to win the vacant English super-middleweight title in Liverpool
Rocky Fielding stopped fellow scouser Carl Dilks to win the vacant English super-middleweight title in a Liverpool derby that headlined the latest Prizefighter event.
After a shaky start, the unbeaten prospect put his opponent down twice in the fifth round, the second knockdown from a barrage of punches that left Dilks in no position to beat the count.
A great win for the progressing Fielding in front of a home crowd at Liverpool’s Olympia, but elsewhere on the night there was less fortune for the city’s hometown fighters.
In a format that often produces a shock, the unfancied Terry Flannigan of Manchester lifted Betfair’s ‘Prizefighter Lightweights II’ crown, eliminating the tournament’s Liverpudlian favourite Derry Matthews en route to edging Yorkshire’s Gary Sykes in the final. The still unbeaten Flannigan – who had only previously fought at super-featherweight – also collected a £32,000 cheque for his night’s work, but that pales in comparison to the exposure that winning Prizefighter will bring.
Matchroom Sport’s eight-man, three-round brainchild was a huge springboard for the career of Fielding in 2011 after he won the 168-pound edition and became the first man to stop all three of his opponents in the process. On Saturday night at the same venue, he demonstrated how far he had come since then.
“It was a big test, but I didn’t think he was that tough,” the 25-year-old said of Dilks, the former Commonwealth title challenger who, with a record of 16-6, now has something of a journeyman standing within the sport. He gave Fielding problems early on however, perhaps raising question marks over the younger man’s defence by landing some clean shots in the first two rounds. “He came at me from the first bell and put it on me. The first few rounds I was a bit sluggish but I found my range and I’ve learned loads from that [fight].”
Dilks is still a credible name on the British and Commonwealth super-middleweight scene having fought James DeGale and Charles Adamu, but it has to be said he didn’t look in great shape for this one. Surplus flesh around the mid-section was a target area for Fielding, who had started fast and grew in confidence after landing body shots that seemed to discourage the 29-year-old. As the fight wore on, the gulf between the two became more and more apparent and Fielding’s accurate punching was too much for Dilks by the fifth.
Fielding landed an uppercut shortly after the bell that hurt him, then began to let his hands go and sent Dilks to the canvas for the first time with another uppercut, followed by a quick left-hook. Shortly after, with Dilks rising on wobbly legs, Fielding finished the bout with a flurry of heavy shots; flooring his man for good this time with referee Mark Green waving the fight off without bothering to commence the count.
Rough around the edges with plenty of sharpening up to do certainly in the defensive areas of his game, there’s no doubt that Fielding is a work in progress. He could feasibly however be a match right now for either Kenny Anderson or Robin Reid, who later this month contest the British title vacated by George Groves.
With David Price and Tony Bellew on the fringe of world-level competition, Liverpool is spoilt right now for up-and-coming fighters and Fielding is travelling nicely in their wake.
Another of Liverpool’s lightweights competed in the Prizefighter tournament, but Stephen Jennings was beaten at the first-hurdle by former Derry Matthews’ foe Anthony Crolla. There had been both hope and expectation that Matthews and Crolla would meet in the final for a repeat of their thrilling British title encounter in April which ‘Dirty’ Derry won by a sixth-round TKO, but both men were to be eliminated in the last four.
After sustaining a cut in his quarter-final win over Jamie Spence, Matthews was handicapped in the semis against Flannigan, who put Derry down in the second and went on to record a one-sided unanimous verdict. Crolla lost out in his semi with Gary Sykes, but came much closer to reaching the final only beaten via a tight split-decision. Sykes could count himself fortunate to win that one, but his luck was to change against Flannigan, as the southpaw would score a split-decison win to be crowned Prizefighter champion.