Hamer is now 18-1 as a professional fighter (Photo by Lucasnoonan.com).
Heavyweight Wins Three Bouts in One Night to Claim Tournament Championship
New Yorker Tor Hamer (18-1, 11 Kos) entered the UK Prizefighter Heavyweight Tournament on Wednesday as somewhat of an unknown by the British boxing brass, and he left York Hall in London as its champion. Hamer won three scheduled bouts of three rounds on the evening, defeating fellow American Kevin Johnson (28-2-1, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision in the final.
“He is a great fighter. He’s smart,” a humble Hamer said of Johnson after the win. “He’s 28-2 now. That ‘2’ doesn’t mean anything on his career. He lost a three-round fight to a prospect who, for all cases in point, I never hurt him. He was not scared of me, none of that. The fact is I won because of the format of Prizefighter. That’s it.”
The way the Prizefighter Tournaments work is eight boxers of a weight class are selected to compete in a single night event where three rounds of the tournament are conducted. Each bout in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final round are slated for three frames each, and results do indeed count on a fighter’s professional record. Hamer, who battled an injury that forced him to miss all of 2011, actually equaled the amount of victories on Wednesday evening that he had posted in the previous 18 months.
“Anyone who knows boxing is not going to be impressed,” Hamer continued in regards to defeating Johnson. “The good thing, though, is that because I beat him, a lot more heavy guys will want to beat me up because I’m small.”
Before his victory over Johnson, Hamer pretty much cruised through his first two contests in the tournament. In the quarterfinals, he met Brazilian Marcelo Luiz Nascimento (16-4, 14 KOs) and just completely outworked the Sao Paulo native. His movement was deceptive and clean, and he did a nice job of working the body with his lead jab before following up with some crisp overhand rights. He did also score a knockdown in the pairing, delivering a hard combination that caught Nascimento off-balance and sent him to the canvas. The bout eventually went to the cards, where Hamer won a unanimous decision with tallies of 30-27, 30-28 and a laughable 29-28.
The semifinal round for the New York heavyweight was a short one, with Hamer needing just 29 seconds to dismantle Tom Dallas of London. He applied immediate pressure as soon as the bell rang to get the action underway, hurting Dallas early with a right hand before pounding him onto the ropes. It did not take long for the referee in charge to step in and end it in his favor.
In the Johnson outing, Hamer used the format to his advantage and went to work very quickly. He started fast and had a much busier work rate than his opposition, staying on the move and throwing punches when he snuck within range. He continued to apply that game plan through the first two frames and most likely knew he had it in the bag when the third round began. Johnson did turn up his tempo in the final frame, but it would simply not be enough. When the judges voiced their opinions after the bell concluded the bout, Hamer was the Prizefighter winner with counts of 30-27, 30-28 and 29-28.