December 19 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 20, 2013
Former champion spurred on by tragedy
A few weeks ago it was announced that former WBO and IBF Inter-Continental light-heavyweight champion and world title challenger Mark Prince is set to make his return to competitive action, on the Dave Murphy Acourtier Events promoted ‘event at York Hall on October 4.
Prince made his pro debut in April 1993, stopping Birmingham’s Bobby Mack in the second round, and went on to stop John Kaighin and Art Stacey before Simon McDougall took him the distance in his fourth outing.
Prince added more quick wins before American Lenzie Morgan and Newcastle’s John Pierre also took him the distance but he then saw off further opponents before stopping American Bruce Rumbloz in the third round to win the WBO Inter-Continental title.
He defended his title against Chicago’s Wayne Hankins, with another third-round stoppage, and added the IBF belt after 12 hard-fought rounds with Amercian Kenny Whack.
Prince then challenged long-time WBO light-heavyweight champion Dariusz Michalczewski in Germany in September 1998, but lost in the eighth round.
He returned two months later to beat Greenwich cruiserweight Kevin Mitchell in just 43 seconds, but retired from boxing soon after with a 19-1 record, including 15 knockouts.
Prince then dedicated himself to helping disadvantaged youngsters, by coaching and mentoring them, but his life changed dramatically following the murder of his son Kiyan, a prodigious young footballer who played for Queens Park Rangers.
This personal tragedy spurred Prince to create the Kiyan Prince Foundation (see www.kiyan.org), a not-for-profit organization committed to creating a legacy for Kiyan, by combating knife crime and other forms of youth violence.
Since creating the Kiyan Prince Foundation, Mark has further dedicated his life to educating youngsters and campaigning for legislation on the carrying of knives.
Mark was instrumental, along with then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, in the lobbying for knife crime to be introduced into the Violent Crime Reduction Act that went before Parliament and received Royal assent in November 2006.
He said: “Basically life’s been a fight, so I figured why not fight in the ring again.
“I’m fighting everyday, after my son was killed, mentally, emotionally.
“I’m fighting to help other parents and kids to recognise that putting knives and guns down is the way forward, so that they can be setting up a future for themselves and myself for the pain I feel.
“I’m fighting for a different cause, before when I was fighting it was about taking me from a kid that was going nowhere, I was on the streets, hustling, doing criminal activities to make money and it’s taken me from there to box to raise my game and become somebody.
“Now my focus and purpose is different, the focus and the purpose is about inspiration, firstly to inspire myself to know that from this terrible incident that something great can come from it.
“You can dig deep, build something strong and positive, while you’re doing that other people can be impacted by that and it will affect the community in a positive way.
“I’m hoping that me coming back is going to affect my community, and show young people that this kid from the streets made himself into a world class fighter and after the tragedy happened that I can come straight back again, with determination, focus, sacrifice and continue my journey.”
Prince went on to expain the tragedy surrounding his son Kiyan, who was 15 and a striker for QPR’s youth team when stabbed outside his school in 2006.
He added: “He was destined for great things, they had plans to put him into the first team and he was doing so well, great potential and he was stabbed outside his school trying to stop a fight, he went over to break it up and the boy pulled a knife out and stabbed him in the heart.
“There’has been a huge amount of media attention around it, because my son was a top striker and obviously I’ve been a world class fighter and continued to help the young people on the streets.
“It’s taken a while, working doing the campaign to put the guns and knives down, working with the newspapers and many other things, it’s not stopped. I’ve continued doing things since then to create a legacy for my son and to provide young people the opportunities, inspire them and educate them that this isn’t the way forward.
“Young people are made for great purpose and they just need to be able to see that and build their self-esteem, that’s what’s happening with the Kiyan Prince foundation.”
As for his own return to the ring, Prince says it is not just a gimmick and he has serious aims.
“I’m coming back looking for Championships, that’s who I am,” he added.
“I’m a warrior at the highest level, the worse thing that can happen is that I lose, no big deal. I’ve lost a lot more than a fight in my life, this is nothing to me, this is the easy part of my life.
“The first time I boxed, I thought boxing was the toughest thing anyone could go through. Obviously I’ve learned differently and now it’s a pleasure to put the gloves back on and train hard.
“My motto is ‘It’s only pain’, so what the hell’. It’s served me well and I think I’m going to surprise a lot of people.
“I’m in wonderful condition and the power never goes anywhere, 15 guys of the 19 wins never saw the end of the bout so whoever is in my category is in a lot of trouble.”
Prince is due to return at cruiserweight level, having revealed his struggles to reach his weight in the past.
“I spent too much time struggling with weight last time. I’m not taking anything away from the guy that beat me, but it contributed in my condition on the night,” he said.
“I would never advise any boxer to struggle to make weight, just to fight comfortable is right. Don’t kill yourself, go in comfortable as it’s good for your health and less blood clots on the brain and other damage.
“There’s no way you can rehydrate in time, it’s about understanding the game, understanding what you need to do to safeguard yourself and coming in at a weight you can manage and that’s comfortable for you to lessen the degree of damage that can happen.
“You need the fluid around the brain, you need the fluid in your body and the last thing you need to do is dry yourself out, because that’s your defence mechanism in the fight.
“You lose a number of pounds in the fight, so if you’ve already drained yourself of fluid you suddenly find yourself in problems.
“There’s been calls for rehydration fluids to be used. It’s not that you’ll become a superman and the next round you’ll be amazing, it’s the rehydration could help, whatever help the fighters can get to improve that part of their safety, not boxing but the chances of any damage being greatly reduced and I think that this should be put in place.”
Prince has been preparing for his return to action by sparring with Nathan Cleverly and is grateful for that valuable time in the ring.
“Don Charles had been nice enough to ask him for me. It was wonderful,” he said.
“I have great respect for Nathan, he’s a great individual, he was nice enough to let me come in and spar with him and it was good.
“I needed to know what I had left and I hadn’t had any real competitive sparring for over 10 years, but if I have anything then I can prove it at the time or would Nathan totally outclass me.
“I needed to know if I could still compete at anywhere around that level and what I had left. The sparring allowed to see where I was and I was really pleased.
“Obviously I didn’t dominate or anything, this guy’has been fighting all the time, I haven’t been at world level for a while so I wasn’t going to do Nathan any damage, but what I did find out is that I can see punches, slip, move nicely.
“Nathan told me how he found it in there with me, he said ‘you could go back in at cruiser and do a lot of damage, so I think you should make a comeback’.
“From there I went on to help Wadi Camacho, who was mixing with Don Charles and some of the guys in his camp. I worked with Frank Buglioni at the TRAD TKO Gym, a wonderful young prospect and a really nice guy.
“All this kind of work has helped me to understand where I am in the game, show me how much knowledge I do have and how sharp I still am, so all I’ve done is improve over the past nine months.
“Every single time I spar, whenever I go in I help Wadi, I helped him prepare for his Prizefighter. He said himself that I was responsible by helping him to prepare and win Prizefighter, he’s the one fighting but it’s really important who you’re working with, to prepare for that fight
“Wadi got quality sparring and everyone could see it on the day, his family could see his improvement.
“I’m intelligent about the work I am doing and it’s about the things I am doing, how much sparring I’’m doing, how much running, so I think I’m a different man, obviously because of what I’ve been through.
“All the time I’ve been out I’ve always focused on being fit, I’ve never lived bad, I’ve trained.
“I used my training skills to help young people, from 2002, before my son was killed. I was into youth work, I was using my boxing to help motivate kids, to do boxing classes and training them up with fitness.
“I was always working and was sharp, I just wasn’t at world class boxing level, that’s all, but my body was always in good nick.”
Prince returns at Bethnal Green’s York Hall on October 4 and tickets priced £35 (standard seated) and £60 (ringside) are available at www.tkoboxoffice.com, www.mariannemarston.com, www.acourtier.com, www.tkoboxinggym.com or www.ringtonehealthandfitness.com or in person from the TRAD TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town and Ringtone Gym in Euston.
Alternatively call 07960 850645, 07809 499896 or 07557 641597 for further information.
Go online to www.Acourtier.com for additional information on the NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS event or the Acourtier stable of boxers.
Follow Prince on Twitter @markno1prince and @AcourtierEvents.
For further information on the Kiyan Prince Foundation please go to www.kiyan.org.