We had one of those tournaments, dubbed the "Super 8" earlier today in New Zealand. The competition, which is a direct clone of the popular "Prizefighter" competition from the UK, was put on PPV with Sky Arena in New Zealand and also shown in nearby Australia on "Main Events". And, with links to an Asthma charity, it appears to have done very well.
The competition kicked off with the biggest name involved as Hasim Rahman (50-9-2, 41), a former world champion, was shockingly upset by rank outsider Anthony Nansen (4-3, 1). Nansen used his speed to out point the cumbersome Rahman who really did live up to the harsh moniker of "Hasbeen Rahman". It was an upset of upsets and saw Rahman going out in the first quarter final.
Rahman wasn't the only fighter upset in the quarter finals as his fellow American Alonzo Butler (30-3-1, 22) was out pointed by Brice Ritani-Coe (4-3-1, 3) in a second major upset in as many fights. Although this was scored a "split decision" we're not sure how any judge managed to give it to Butler who often looked very lazy in the ring, though was the more skilled.
The upsets ended when the experienced Kali Meehan (41-5, 32) over-came Australian champion Hunter Sam (10-3-2, 4) in a split decision. Although Sam lost he showed off enough for us to think he could well be a future OPBF title holder. He has a real toughness to him, lovely speed and perhaps just needed a bit of extra size and experience here.
Although Meehan/Sam was a good fight the stand out quarter final wasa bout between the UK's Michael Sprott (42-22, 17) and Ireland's Martin Rogan (16-6, 8). The bout saw both men, both former Prizefighter winners, giving their all in a really enjoyable bout that showed the spirit of these 1 night tournaments to the full.
Between the quarter finals and the semi finals their was an inter-lude for other bouts, including a contest between Hemi Ahio (3-0, 2) and William Quarrie (4-1, 1). This was another really fun to watch encounter as both men unloaded on the other. It may have resembled a pub fight at times but it was thoroughly entertaining all the same.
Following the small interlude we returned for the semi finals which saw Michael Sprott over-coming Nansen by a shut out to move into the final and Kali Meehan defeating Ritani-Coe by a clear unanimous decision.
In the final Meehan forced an opening round KO over Sprott to take home the big championship prize which, we've been told, was a very nice monetary reward for just 7 rounds of boxing.
Whilst Meehan won we've got to admit we were more impressed by the 3 lowly under-dog who all gave a great account of themselves against more experienced men. The trio are unlikely to reach the peak of the sport but they will all be interesting men to follow.