Interview: John Wayne Hibbert Talks Prizefighter, Witter, Lynes, El Maachi and more
By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
20 May 2011
With seriously big names, such as former World Champs Junior Witter and Colin Lynes and former British Champion Kevin McIntyre, grabbing all the headlines in the build up to the highly anticipated Matchroom Sports promoted Prizefighter - Welterweights II, which takes place at York Hall on Tuesday 7th June, I decided to buck the trend a bit, well my last interview was with Colin Lynes, and make a concerted effort to catch up with some of the lesser well known names taking part.
As luck would have it earlier this week I was at the TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town photographing Big John McDermott sparring with Ali Adams. Across the ring I spotted the familiar figure of John Wayne Hibbert chatting with Kevin Mitchell.
For those that donít know him, yet, John has a crowd pleasing style and brings a large posse of highly vocal supporters with him. He lives up to his "John Wayne" moniker by donning a stetson into the ring.
The first time I see John in action was back in April last year, when he fought Matt Scriven, at the excellent Steve Goodwin promoted ĎNight of Rising Starsí event. John impressed me with his performance, and his vociferous following who never let up their deafening support for their hero throughout.
That was Johnís sixth bout and I have to be honest I was quite disappointed not to have seen any of his earlier fights and had made a mental note marking him down as one to watch.
I next got to see him in action the following December, at the superb Judgement Day event, where again he put on another excellent performance - as my fight report attests
ďThe assembled crowd at York Hall were on their feet and in full voice the moment they see the stetson wearing John Wayne Hibbert appear and didnít abate throughout their heroes six round encounter with William Warburton.
Hibbert ensured that by putting on one of his trademark attacking displays. About the only time the decibel levels dropped was after Hibbert received a cut above the left eye in third round. Hibbert seemed unfazed by the cut as he kept on pressuring Warburton to secure a tidy 59-55 points victory.Ē
These may have been the only times I personally see John in action, but they are far from his only successes.
John was a successful amateur winning National titles at both schoolboy and Senior level, including representing England in international competitions.
John made his debut on Miranda Carterís Left Jab promotions 2009 Father's Day show, where he stopped Damien Jeffries in the first round.
Three months later John was back in action, this time his victim was Andrew Patterson, who he stopped in the second round.
Less than a month later John returned to York Hall, where he convincingly out pointed Kevin McCauley.
Next up just two months later was another second round stoppage victory, this time over Bheki Moyo.
It wasnít until March 2010 that his legion of fans got to see him in action again, against Rick Boulter. As in three of his previous four outings this one also didnít get to go the distance, as Boulterís manager, Carl Greaves, pulled him out at the end of the second to save him further punishment, or worse being knocked out.
Which nicely brings us back to the fights I see him in, so without further ado here is John Wayne Hibbert talking about Prizefighter and his possible opponents on June 7th.
Rio - Thank you for talking with me today - first of all please tell me your thoughts on Prizefighter.
John - I think itís a great idea for prospects and everyone thatís in it. Itís a great idea.
Rio - What do you think your chances are of winning Prizefighter?
John - I wouldnít be in it it I didnít think I could win it, I believe I can do well and nick it.
Rio - Now to the other fighters in the tournament - What are your thoughts on Junior Witter?
John - Canít knock him can you. Heís been a World Champion, Iíve got all respect for him. Heís getting on a bit now, so Iím still young so I donít see any problems there really.
Rio - OK, Weíll move on to Colin Lynes
John - Damn good fighter, another ex-World Champion. Iím not going to disrespect him. Heís got a brilliant jab. Take away his jab though, I reckon I can get underneath it and take it away and do the job though.
Rio - Next up is Kevin McIntyre
John - Donít know too much about Kevin McIntyre so Iíll have to watch up on him.
Rio - OK, your thoughts on Yassine El Maachi
John - Dangerous fighter, very elusive. Youíve got to get close to him, take all his grin away. Yeah I reckon I can beat him.
Rio - Next is Peter McDonagh
John - Donít know too much about him either. Going to have to look up on him, I aint seen too much of him.
Rio - Bobby Gladmanís next on the list.
John - Aint seen too much of him either, I know heís quite a good upright boxer. I aint too fussed.
Rio - Last but not least Nathan Graham
John - I donít know nothing about Nathan Graham. All Iíve seen is his record, Iíll have to watch him.
Rio - How do you think being on Prizefighter will affect your career?
John - When I go and win it Iíll go straight up the rankings, so itíll be all good for me when I win it.
Obviously if I get a title shot because of it thatíll be brilliant, thereís a lot of good fighters at that weight. But Iím going to take this one step at a time and concentrate on Prizefighter, Iím not thinking about anything else yet. Just concentrating on that Prizefighter.
Rio - Talking about concentrating on Prizefighter, who have you been sparring to prepare for June 7th?
John - Iíve been sparring former Prizefighter champion Michael Lomax, Kris Agyia-Dua. Iíve been sparring all different people because Iíll be fighting all different people in Prizefighter. Iíve been sparring amateurs, all different people really.
Rio - Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today and good luck on June 7th.
John - No problem, thanks.
Prizefighter - Welterweights II, featuring John Wayne Hibbert, Colin Lynes, Junior Witter, Yassine El Maachi, Kevin McIntyre, Nathan Graham, Peter McDonagh and Bobby Gladman, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.
Tickets, priced £35 (Unreserved), £60 (Ringside), and £100 (VIP) are available now at www.tkoboxoffice.com or in person at the TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA or call 07960 850645
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