Doncaster boxer Luke Crowcroft rattles hot Prizefighter favourite

Luke Crowcroft gave a great show in the Prizefighter. Photo: Dean Woolley
Luke Crowcroft gave a great show in the Prizefighter. Photo: Dean Woolley

Even in defeat, a star can be born.

Luke Crowcroft may have lost his Prizefighter quarter-final against hot favourite Luke Keeler, but the Doncaster fighter marked himself out as one to watch for the future.

By some distance the youngest in the eight-man field, Crowcroft showed incredible maturity - and brilliant resilience - to hold his own over three rounds against the Irish knockout specialist who simply could not budge him.

Keeler started the fight as a 1/4 odds-on favourite as well as being the most fancied to win the tournament. By the end there was some doubt over whether he had done enough to beat his young rival.

Crowcroft showed no fear from the start against a man who had knocked out five of his seven previous victims.

Keeler - with former two weight world champion Steve Collins in his corner - certainly looked to stop Crowcroft in the first round.

But no matter what he landed, Crowcroft took it on the chin and kept on coming forward. Keeler said afterwards of the 20-year-old: “What a chin. I landed a few big shots in the first round and he walked right through them.”

Crowcroft survived a big flurry of shots on the ropes midway through the round and never looked remotely fazed.

There were early signs the contest would not be one-sided. Crowcroft repeatedly landed the left hook, punishing an arrogant fighting style from Keeler.

And the Scawthorpe man looked the better boxer, comfortably sitting behind his jab and never looking erratic.

It gave him total control of the second round.

Keeler - perhaps sensing he would not shift his rival - eased off but seemed to lack the skill to take full control.

It allowed Crowcroft to box from distance, using his jab with great discipline and land the more clean shots with the left hook continuing to find the mark.

His performance in the second three minutes meant the fight was on a knife edge in the final round.

Crowcroft continued to box at distance but Keeler stepped up his efforts. Not wanting to get caught in another of the Irishman’s flurries, Crowcroft was less eager to engage and his chances for victory slipped away with Keeler the busier.

It was still somewhat surprising that all three judges were unanimous in their 29-28 verdict for Keeler.

Tom Doran - promoted by Rotherham’s Dave Coldwell - won the £32,000 tournament, beating veteran Cello Renda in the final after defeating Keeler in the semi-finals.

Crowcroft will now go on to face Doncaster rival Jason Ball for the vacant Central Area middleweight title at the Dome next Saturday night.

And his performance on Saturday night will have given Ball plenty to think about.

Sheffield’s tough former English title contender Wayne Reed suffered a rare stoppage in Wolverhampton.

Fighting on the undercard of Stephen Ormond and Terry Flanagan’s WBO European lightweight title bout, Reed was stopped in the fifth round against Tommy Langford after twice being put down in the fourth round.