Robert Lloyd-Taylor grabs late chance to win Prizefighter
HISTORY IN THE MAKING ... Robert Lloyd-Taylor lifts the Prizefighter trophy
ROBERT LLOYD-TAYLOR defied the odds last night by stepping in at short notice to win Prizefighter.
Lloyd-Taylor was handed his chance on a coin toss after JJ Bird fainted in the dressing room before the light-middleweight tournament at London's iconic York Hall.
And the 25/1 outsider defeated Takaloo, Peter Vaughan and Nick Quigley on his way to lifting the trophy and walking away with the £32,000 winner's cheque.
Lloyd-Taylor, 31, said: "I had the hardest route to the final with the two favourites for the tournament so I should get some credibility from that.
"I was just sitting there and relaxing when they came in and said that JJ had pulled out.
"Fellow reserve Nathan Weise called heads, tails came down and I was getting taped up — I didn't even have time to warm up.
"But that maybe helped in a way as I wasn't tense at all and I got in there for the first fight.
"The money is fantastic of course but I've never made money out of boxing. It's never been about money but I'll enjoy this and see what doors are opened."
Lloyd-Taylor began his journey to becoming the first-ever reserve to win Prizefighter by edging a split decision against veteran Takaloo.
The victory set up a showdown with pre-tournament favourite Vaughan in the semi-finals and the heating engineer threw the form book out of the window by claiming the only stoppage of the night.
Quigley was involved in two wars to reach the final, taking a split decision over Steve Harkin before overcoming Kris Agyei-Dua.
The Liverpudlian battled valiantly against Lloyd-Taylor but there was no stopping the late replacement claiming a well deserved place in Prizefighter history.
Robert Lloyd-Taylor wins Prizefighter
Takaloo: early loser
It was a contest that had names some of whom would be struggling to be recognised in their own households, but Robert Lloyd-Taylor ended the night pushed that bit further up the ladder when he won the final and the £32,000 prize.
Prizefighter the light-middleweights II was the 20th edition of a series, once again at the York Hall in London, which has now found its niche in the sport.
The three-round format of Prizefighter has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it aspect but JJ Bird did not even hear the first bell much less the last. The former Big Brother contestant fainted in the dressing and was pulled out on medical, with Robert Lloyd-Taylor taking his place in the quarter-final draw for the first bout with former world-title fighter Takaloo.
Lloyd-Taylor won on points for a semi-final bout with Peter Vaughan who came through a battle of the unbeatens with a split decision over Wayne Goddard.
Goddard had just a bit more ring knowledge but Vaughan, who wanted a tear-up, caught the judges’ eye although it was a fight that drew deeply on the reserves of both men in a tournament where such exuberance often comes at a price.
Vaughan fights under the name of “the Raging Bull” and Lloyd-Taylor tried to play the matador, using the jab to fend off his opponent and pick up points with some quality shots. Vaughan was always coming forward, switching from head to body, and he staggered Lloyd-Taylor with an overhand right in the second round but a tight contest was turned when Lloyd-Taylor found a short left uppercut in the third that brought about the stoppage.
In the other half of the draw, Kris Agyei-Dua came into his first fight with the prospect of doubling his experience if he reached the final. The 31-year-old, who was unbeaten in three, was up against Jeff Thomas, who got his shot after his fans bombarded the promoter, Eddie Hearn, on twitter.
Thomas managed to bombard Agyei-Dua in the first round with a left hook that sent his opponent to the canvas, but Agyei-Dua came back to take a decision that was a draw according to the judges and went to the casting vote of referee Terry O’Connor which put him in a semi-final with Nick Quigley.
That came after a derby match-up between Liverpudlians in which Quigley had just a bit too much all round for Steve Harkin, although it was another fight that went to a split decision.
Again there was a match-up of men with perfect professional records but protection of either that or their chins did not seem a high priority as both men took cavalier risks in pursuit of victory. Quigley teed off on Agyei-Dua in the third but could not put his man away in a fight that could have topped many bills on its own.
Quigley, who left the ring with a cut over his left eye, took the verdict by a unanimous decision but the suspicion was that the real winner might have been the man waiting for him in the final.
Lloyd-Taylor, from the Adam Booth stable, had been something of an unfulfilled talent and had not even brought a trainer to work with him for the tournament. But Johnny Eames had been pressed into service and the 31-year-old heating engineer from Hayes had been growing in confidence through the night.
Quigley had the confidence of a 22-year-old who was nine from nine, but he stepped back into the ring with the battle scars that were a reminder of his hard night’s work thus far.
Lloyd-Taylor was picking Quigley off with the jab and that left uppercut in the first round and body shots were cutting into Quigley through the second that were slowly sapping the Liverpool fighter.
Quigley was a boxer running on empty, although he was game to the end, but Lloyd-Taylor just kept accumulating the points. It may not have had the drama of other finals but it was a controlled performance that was reflected when he was awarded the contest 29-28 by all three judges.
Lloyd-Taylor, who will be back at the day job on Monday, could now be in line for an even bigger pay-day if he is given a shot at Lee Purdy, the British welterweight champion but he was happy enough.
“Thirty-two grand is the most I’ve got out of boxing so far,” Lloyd-Taylor said. “All I’ve had from now is a crooked nose.”
LLOYD-TAYLOR LANDS PRIZEFIGHTER
Last-minute replacement Robert Lloyd-Taylor stunned the York Hall crowd to win the light-middleweight Prizefighter title on Thursday night.
The 31-year-old heating engineer from Hayes - a 25/1 outsider at the start of the night - stepped in for the unwell JJ Bird to become the first-ever reserve to win the crown and £32,000 cheque.
Lloyd-Taylor, who didn't even bring his trainer to the arena such was the unlikelihood of him making the line-up, overcame Takaloo and favourite Peter Vaughan before easing past an exhausted Nick Quigley in the final.
Bird pulled out of the competition after fainting in the dressing room in the build-up and, after Lloyd-Taylor won the coin toss to take his place, he immediately cashed in by overcoming veteran Takaloo on a split-decision in a low-quality opening quarter-final.
Wayne Goddard (9-9) and Vaughan (4-4) then put their unbeaten records on the line in a high-octane contest, which also divided the judges.
However, it was Banbury fighter Vaughan who edged it to secure a semi-final showdown with Lloyd-Taylor.
Former Billericay footballer Kris Agyei-Dua then picked himself up off the canvas to overcome Jeff Thomas and reach the last four.
The Essex fighter was sent tumbling by a thundering left hook from Thomas in round one but dominated the rest of the fight and, despite a first-ever draw, won the contest on the referee's scorecard.
A Merseyside showdown between Stephen Harkin and Nick Quigley completed the quarter-final action and it was the latter who prevailed on the cards to extend his unbeaten run to eight fights.
Contrasting styles collided in the first semi-final as the all-action Vaughan and silky smooth Lloyd-Taylor went head-to-head.
And it was the last-minute replacement who came through courtesy of a third-round stoppage.
After putting Vaughan on the canvas with a stunning uppercut, Lloyd-Taylor unleashed another flurry of brutal punches and the referee came in to stop the bout.
All three judges were finally in agreement in the second semi-final as Liverpool's Quigley overcame Agyei-Dua 30-27 in the fight of the night.
But Lloyd-Taylor proved too strong in the final and afterwards said: "I'm ecstatic. It was great. Last time I was on Sky I didn't perform too well so I think I've done myself proud tonight.
"I came in late, late notice and I've done the business. Prizefighter always opens doors so hopefully this brings me something decent."
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