Islington fighter even more fired up after Prizefighter disappointment

Charlie Rice

Charlie Rice - Credit: Philip Sharkey/TGSPHOTO

Islington’s Charlie Rice says his Prizefighter defeat has only made him more determined to succeed as he prepares to return to the ring on Friday night.

Rice lost his unbeaten professional record on his last outing in June, when he was eliminated from the Prizefighter III light-welterweight tournament on points by eventual finalist Danny Connor.

But the former Times ABC amateur, who returns to action in a six-round contest against Lithuanian Aleksas Vaseris on Mickey Helliet’s show at the Camden Centre, has no regrets about his Prizefighter experience.

“I learned quite a bit from it, with all the press and the cameras and that and being in a fight with a good opponent,” Rice told the Gazette. “There was a lot to deal with and I started a bit too slowly.

“What I also learned was not to sleep with the windows open because I got bitten by something the night before the tournament and when I woke up my eye was completely shut.

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“I put ice on it and whatever else I could think of to stop the swelling. But Connor was targeting my eye and, once I got hit a few times in that first round it closed up again.

“Obviously I wanted to win, but I was never worried about getting a loss on my record. It just made me want to work harder towards getting where I want to get to.

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“Hopefully this one will be my last six-rounder. I want to be pushing on to eight and 10 rounds after this and I want to box for the Southern Area title by next summer.”

Rice is back at the King’s Cross venue where he has previously enjoyed success, recording three of his six victories as a professional prior to the Prizefighter loss.

But the 21-year-old is stepping into the ring for the first time without the watchful eye of Colin Wilson, who had trained Rice since his amateur days but has now given up the role to concentrate on work commitments.

In recent weeks, Rice has been working with Barry O’Connell, a strength and conditioning trainer in west London who has previously helped the likes of George Groves and ex-Commonwealth welterweight champion John O’Donnell.

Rice added: “Colin’s had to focus on work for now, but we’re still close and everything’s good. I’ve only been working with Barry for six weeks but it’s going well.

“I’ve had some really good sparring, with people like [Commonwealth super-bantamweight champion] Carl Frampton. I just want to get back to winning ways, cracking on and getting closer to that title fight.”

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