Troy James revealed that former manager Barry McGuigan convinced him to lay his unbeaten record on the line and enter the Prizefighter Featherweights tournament on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
The Coventry man, 9-0-1 since turning pro in, parted with the former World Featherweight king this spring after finding it hard to get fights, but he is determined to leave Bethnal Green’s York Hall with his unbeaten record intact and the trophy in hand.
“I still speak to Barry now and then and he was the one who told me about this Prizefighter,” said James.
“I left Barry a while ago because I wasn’t getting fights. It wasn’t his fault and we parted on good terms and I now work with my local promoter Les Allen and train two minute from my house.”
The 28 year-old claimed the sixth straight win of his career in his last outing, beating Steve Gethin on points in a four-rounder at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton in September. The ninth win of his career is a nice boost going into the 22nd edition of Matchroom Sport’s eight-man, one night tournament, but victory on Saturday would change James’ life.
“Winning this would mean so much for me, my partner Natasha and three kids (11, 4 and 19 months),” said James. “It would sort us out no end. I would be able to pay off my debts and put a deposit down for a new home.
“But winning Prizefighter could make things take off. I started boxing late so my goal has always been to win the British title, and if you win this tonight a British title fight is a realistic possibility."
“I was happy with the first year of my career but the second was a bit of a let-down,” said James. “I trained for seven fights and only two came off with opponents pulling out. I just wanted to be busy and that’s when I started to learn plastering.
“I’ve just finished a diploma in sports science at Loughborough University three weeks ago. It’s for something later on in life. I used to teach fitness in a gym and that’s what got me to do the diploma.
“I’m learning to be a plasterer at the moment and am working five days a week, six if we need the extra money. I have to get up at 5am every morning to do my running, and go to the gym after work.”
James is joined in the line-up by the Mongolian Warrior Choi Tseveenpurev in his second dig at Prizefighter, unbeaten pair Lee Glover (6-0 from Tipton) and Troy James (9-0-1 from Coventry), 20 year-old Londoner George Jupp, Liverpool’s Lee Jennings, Manchester prospect Rhys Roberts and Nottingham’s Barrington Brown, who replaces Mickey Coveney.
Tickets for Prizefighter Featherweights at York Hall, Bethnal Green in east London on October 29 are available from Matchroom Sport priced £35 unreserved, £60 ringside and £100 VIP – to buy call Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.