Unbeaten super-middleweight prospect Harry Woods (4-0), from Maghull, Liverpool, didn’t have to think twice before accepting a last-minute placement in the next Ultimate Boxxer tournament – the super-middleweights – live on BT Sport and ITV4 on Tuesday, November 10.
25-year-old Woods, a former England amateur representative with over 80 bouts as experience, will clash with MTK signed prospect Mike McGoldrick (6-0, 2KOs) in one of the competition’s semi-finals. The four-man knockout tournament takes place behind closed doors at the BT Sport Studios in Stratford.
Despite less than two weeks notice to prepare, Woods accepted the invitation to join Ultimate Boxxer 7 at the drop of hat, without needing any time to think about it, he explained, “This tournament is a big opportunity for me to get out there and get known, progress my career. I got the call on Friday night (Oct 30) about 12 days before the event and I said yes immediately. I’ve been on small hall shows until now and to get an opportunity like this was great – take it with both hands.”
The other competitors have had more time to prepare for the different format that the unique Ultimate Boxxer tournament will bring. Fighting twice in one night, in what is expected to be a fast-paced, explosive semi-final, where one knockdown could win the fight over the short three rounds; followed by a five-round final, where playing it smart might be the better option than an all-out offensive; Woods will be at a slight disadvantage having only had a few days to strategise before heading down south to enter the ‘bubble’ ahead of fight night.
“I don’t see it as a disadvantage,” he quickly dismissed. “I’d have taken this on any notice. If anything, it’s an advantage because I’m an unknown quantity.
“Before I found out, I was still training three days a week and keeping fit, staying ready, because you just never know.”
Trained by Paul Stevenson at the talent-laden Everton Red Triangle Gym in Liverpool, Woods trains alongside six other unbeaten prospects, as well as Olympian Peter McGrail.
So far, all his fights have taken place on Black Flash Promotions events on the small hall scene in his home city of Liverpool.
An added benefit for Woods is that trainer Paul Stevenson already has experience of the venue from when he took teammates Nick Ball (13-0, 6KOs), Andrew Cain (6-0, 6KOs), and Brad Strand (4-0, 1KO) there in July to perform on the Lyndon Arthur vs Dec Spelman undercard, on a Queensberry Promotions production, with all three winning their fights.
Head coach Stevenson is also feeling confident, he added, “Despite going in on just 10 days notice, Harry is always fit and ready. He’s coming in fresh from dozens of rounds of sparring with Commonwealth champion JJ Metcalf. When you’re in shape and motivated, you’re able to take full advantage of any opportunity.”
Woods will be joined by three other semi-finalists on the night, all looking to win their next two fights to be bestowed with the prize of the Golden Robe.
Former Southern Area titlist Zak Chelli (7-1-1, 3KOs) is the tournament favourite, and he goes up against the least experienced fighter of the competition in unbeaten Ben Ridings (3-0).
The second semi-final pits Woods versus McGoldrick, with the winners of each round meeting over five three-minute rounds in the tournament final.
Both broadcasters, BT Sport and ITV4, are airing the three-hour show live from 8pm on Tuesday, November 10.
Joining the talented quartet on the event undercard will be former Ultimate Boxxer winners Derrick Osaze (10-0, 2KOs) and Mikael Lawal (12-0, 7KOs); as well as Albanian superstar Florian Marku (6-0, 4KOs), with Paulie Malignaggi and Steve Bunce providing the expert punditry.
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