Perez ready for Prizefighter glory
Cork based Cuban, Mike “The Rebel” Perez believes he can finally break the favourites curse in Prizefighter by becoming the first ever bookies favourite to triumph in the hugely popular one night tournament which for the first time ever goes global this weekend.
The event which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports from the Alexandra Palace in London this Saturday has brought a whole new generation of fans to the sport and this weekend will see the first ever International Prizefighter with eight men from eight different nations taking part with Perez proudly flying the flag for Ireland.
The 25-year-old, a World Junior Champion from the amateur ranks arrived in Ireland early in 2008 and now sees himself very much as an adopted Irishman having settled in Cork with his Irish fiancee. The couple recently celebrated the birth of baby daughter Mia and Perez has revealed that it has given him an extra incentive to fulfil what he belies is his destiny to bring the World Heavyweight title back to Cork.
“My little baby girl Mia was born in March and she is my pride and joy and I will dedicate my Prizefighter victory to her,” said Perez. “Cuba has still not had a World Heavyweight Champion in the professional ranks and Ireland has not had one in well over a century so I want to be the one to win it and bring glory to Cuba and Ireland.”
The lightning fast southpaw has drawn comparisons to a young Mike Tyson in compiling a perfect record of 13 and 0 with 10 KO’s and he’s looking forward to adding a further three victories to that tally on Saturday night as he aims for a clean sweep in the quarter final, semi final and final of the Prizefighter.
“I fought twice in one night in Limerick last year so to fight three times in one night will not be a problem for me. In fact I would be happier if they lined the other seven guys up in front of me at the start of the night because I believe I would take them all out.”
Last weekend’s draw originally pitted Perez with former World title challenger and David Haye’s sparring partner Fres Oquendo but the Puerto Rican was forced to withdraw last weekend while another former World title challenger Kevin Johnson has also withdrawn from the lineup. Johnson had been drawn in the second quarter final against French Champion Gregory Tony and was tipped by most experts to be Perez’s most likely semi final opponent.
Despite the late change in opponent from Oquendo to Trinidad and Tobago’s Kertson Manswell Perez remains unfussed.ed. “The withdrawals don’t concern me, I had sparred both Oquendo and Johnson before so I would have had no problems with either of them but maybe they had problems with me. Now I am facing Manswell but I don’t care who they put in front of me, the result will be the same.”
Manswell has just one defeat in his 21 fights to date with 15 of his wins coming via KO while the other half of the draw features British representative and former Prizefighter Champ, Michael Sprott. The lineup also features 6 foot 9 inch Russian Evgeny Orlov and 6 foot 8 inch American Tye Fields who has scored 41 knockout victories in his 45 wins.
However despite the hard hitting lineup Perez believes that the Prizefighter trophy and the £32,000 first prize could prove the key to unlocking the door to the richest prize in sport, the World heavyweight title. “Once I get Prizefighter out of the way I want to chase down the winner of the Klitschko and Haye fight,” said Perez. “The heavyweight division has not had any excitement for a long time but I want to get people talking about the heavyweight again, starting this weekend.”