by Johnny Walker
Tor Hamer surprised the tournament favorite and fellow American Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson today to win the Prizefighter heavyweight tourney held at Bethnal Green in London, England.
Hamer defeated Marcelo Luiz Nascimento by a unanimous decision and knocked out Tom Dallas at 0:29 of round one to advance to the finals of the three-rounds-per-fight competition.
Johnson had advanced by knocking out the green Noureddine Meddoune at 2:57 of round one, and then by winning a controversial split decision over Albert Sosnowski in which the latter man had appeared to outwork Johnson. The crowd cheered Sosnowski and jeered Johnson as he left the ring. Boxing Insider scored the fight in favor of Sosnowski.
Perhaps the best match of the evening was a wild slugfest between Tom Dallas and Tom Little in the quarterfinals, a barroom brawl that saw both men on the verge of total exhaustion by the end of the fight, when Dallas prevailed with a flurry of unanswered shots, winning by TKO at 1:57 of round three.
In the final, Johnson, who had been doing Muhammad Ali-like bragging and rhyming in interviews both leading up to and during the fight, seemed to be lacking energy, and the energetic smaller man Hamer simply outhustled him for three rounds. Johnson landed some sharp left hooks, but was unable to mount a sustained assault on Hamer, who continually pressed the action.
All three judges scored the final for Hamer, 30-27, 30-28 and 29-28. Hamer (18-1, 11KOs) pockets ₤32,000 for the win, plus a raised profile in the heavyweight division.
The loss snapped a six-match winning streak for Johnson (28-2-1, 13KOs) since losing to WBC champion Vitali Klitschko in 2009.
Hamer gave a puzzling, rather discourteous interview following the fight, generally disparaging the Prizefighter tourney and saying, “I only won because of the format.”
As the format was known beforehand and was the same for all of the participants, what that had to do with anything is only for Hamer to say. Hamer seemed a sore wnner, for some reason, and while promoter Eddie Hearn was smiling as Hamer spoke, it was through clenched teeth.