Kay Prospere

Kay Prospere is a contradiction. He’s 31 years old, but he’s a prospect at light welterweight. He’s a prospect, but he’s about to take part on the early entry for biggest show of 2016 as he makes up part of the undercard for the David Haye comeback at the O2 against Mark De Mori. He’s a genuinely nice man to talk to, but during that process of polite and respectful conversation he switches effortlessly to fighter mode, able to discuss clinically his pathway to titles via the seemingly inevitable destruction of those in his way.
Prospere is still a relative novice in the professional ranks, six fights in with victories in each fight, four by way of stoppage, the 31 year old hasn't taken the easiest of beginners routes in the sport. Of the six victories, two have come against opponents with winning records, the most impressive of which against Oxfordshire based Daza Usher who had a record of 6-0-0 when the two met in March of last year. It was only in October of 2013 when Prospere took the step to being a professional boxer. Before that, as he tells me, he had a successful amateur career:
"I started amateurs when I was about 21 or 22, so I had about six years experience. I used to play semi professional football for Hitchin and Letchworth, I was hoping to make it as a footballer at the time. A family member set up an amateur boxing gym and I went down there to help out and I started really enjoying it, doing some work with the kids. Then I did a bit of my own training and did a bit of sparring until I had my first fight which I won by stoppage in the first round and got the buzz for it. I went on to win the Haringey box cup and got to the final of two ABA championships, unfortunately didn’t win either, but I did alright in the short period of time I had as an amateur. A lot of my fights were stoppages, I was always more suited to the professionals. I had a connection with Terry Steward, Jim McDonald and James DeGale from the amateurs and the professionals started from there really."
His professional career has been quick progress. He started off with journeyman Dan Carr, who Prospere admits was a tough opponent who despite "putting it on him" he was unable to finish off, claiming a clear points victory. He is one of only two opponents to go the distance, the other being Lubos Priehradnik ("he was again a tough fighter who didn't come out to win, he was just in his shell"). As Prospere tells me though, the best of him has not been witnessed by any crowd to date. "I have so many more levels and gears to go through that when I fight the better fighters people will see it, that’s why I’m so confident. I’m well above the level I’m fighting at now" he confidently exclaims. "For my next fight in January I’m hoping to fight someone who has a winning record and comes to win so I can show people where I’m at and can move on. I don’t want to rush it but I also don’t want to fight any more journeymen. I want to fight potential from now on."
That next fight is a special one, and has come by way of his new promotional deal with Goodwin Promotions. Prospere is a Luton lad and has only recently inked a contract with the Leighton Buzzard based promotional outfit. So given the close proximity of fighter and promoter, how comes it has taken a while for the two to come together? 
"I’ve known Steve for a while, he’s local to me. When I was turning over I didn’t see him as a viable option for whatever reason and maybe I should. I could always see him in the background doing his work and then when I left my other Manager he was the best option for me. He’s really pushing on and other than the two top promoters he’s the best one. People class York Hall as small hall shows but he’s making them big; all the effects, the build up to them, the press involvement. It’s great. I was best going with Steve rather than one of the big two because I genuinely feel he wants to look after me and take me to the top."
It speaks volumes of the faith that the head of his promoters, Steve Goodwin, has in Prospere that his first outing under their banner will be on a card that gives Goodwin Promotions the opportunity to showcase some of their elite talent to a wider audience, as they provide the undercard fighters for David Haye's comback fight on January 16th at the O2 in London. It is seen as a huge coup for the promoters and gives the opportunity to shine a light on a handful of their stable that some of the more mainstream fans may not be accustomed to. So how is Kay feeling in the buildup to January 16th and the big show? "Ahhhhh, still to this day I still pinch myself. I’ve seen him once before and I was in awe then, so when I see him again I’m going to have to remind myself I’m fighting on his show!" says Prospere, who will have to get through a disciplined Christmas period to be in shape for the big event. So is that an issue? "No, I’m extremely privileged to get the opportunity so that’s why I’m making sure I make the most of it. I’m training really hard and it’s a real buzz that Steve (Goodwin) has picked me and three other fighters to be on it. It shows that he really does believe in me so I’m going to repay the favour and push on."
It is clear that Prospere is thankful for being hand picked to represent his new boss on the night. There will be a lot of media eyes focussed on the event and provide the perfect platform for him to showcase the skills that he has yet to have the chance to display. When discussing his best attributes he happily acknowledges his reputation as a fearsome finisher of fighters but is adamant there is more to his artillery than just heavy firepower. "I can punch very hard, but I personally think I’m a better boxer than a puncher. I always set people up with hard shots just to get myself in a position where I’m comfortable. If they can handle it or not is the question. As I go on and fight top level fighters I know I’ll have to rely on my boxing more but I like to do that anyway, so I’m looking forward to showing people what I’m about. I’ll show my true colours when I get people who want to come and win."
Given that Prospere is now 31 years old, an age at which sportsmen are seen to be reaching their peak, is there a feeling from him that progress needs to be quick to utilise the prime fighting years? "I need to keep progressing at a steady rate, but I still have a couple of years to get to a good level and can take my time" he tells me, realising that although there is no rush he still wants to move on quickly. "I think with the other boxers I see around my weight category I can progress quite quickly anyway. I’ve got a Southern Area title shot in March which Goodwin have got me, then I can look to defend that belt soon after. Hopefully I can go for the English title by the end of next year."
Johnny Garton
It is a lofty ambition and tells a story of a man who isn't shy about his ability in the ring. The Southern Area title fight that he refers to is a matchup with new title light welterweight holder Ben Day, who claimed the vacant belt at the start of December in a stunning first round stoppage of experienced opponent Ryan Taylor. Did Prospere witness the quick victory? "Yeah I was there and I was gobsmacked when I saw him drop him, I was shocked. But Ryan Taylor is shot now, Ben only clipped him but fair enough he turned up and did what he needed to do. I’d never seen Ben box before, he’s quite laid back and confident but if he does that against me then he’ll be in trouble" says a now menacingly clinical Prospere. However as clinical as he plans on being inside the ring, he is entirely respectful outside of it towards future potential opponent Day. "I do like the kid" says Prospere of the unbeaten champion. "But I will gladly beat him to relinquish the belt, I’m on another level to him. That fight only ends one way; I will stop him." Back to the clinical side of the likeable Luton fighter.
There is another fighter from Prospere's neck of the woods that he is happy to discuss a potential showdown with; former Prize Fighter finalist Michael Devine. A fellow Luton lad, Devine (13-4-1) has his own Southern Area title fight down at lightweight lined up for March at York Hall against popular South coast fighter Floyd Moore. There is a weight division between Devine and Prosper but as the two are so close both in geography and size is it possible we could see them meet in the future? "If we could fight it might have to be at a catchweight. But he’s already fought for the English title at my weight, so if I can capture the English title I think we can make it happen. He knows I’m a dangerous fight so it might need a title to make it happen. He’s a well known fighter in Luton, he’s boxed on Sky Sports, been in Prize Fighter, fought for the English title and been in more fights; he has more stature than me but I don’t think he’s on my level so I hope it can happen and I’ll come out victorious."
Prospere insists that weight may not be such a hindrance. As he tells me, he often comes in under the light welterweight limit of 140 lbs and is confident he could make lightweight if required, but it is his coach who is reluctant to make the move. "My trainer’s adamant that he won’t let me fight at lightweight because when it goes to the eighth, ninth, tenth and the championship rounds, that’s when your body starts to get sapped and you need that added weight on you. I’ve always said to him though that I can rehydrate up to my usual weight. If I can make lightweight I’ll be big and strong in that division so we’ll see how it goes."
It doesn't seem a move down in divisions is imminent so a catchweight may be required to see Devine and Prospere meet in the ring. However there is also another possible enticement for making the fight happen aside from the title and the local grudge match. There have been murmurings of the possibility of the Luton Town Football Club being used as a fight venue in 2016, rumours that it could host a boxing event. So is that something that Prospere, with his football roots and hometown club in mind, would be pushing for to happen? "If we could have an English title fight (with Devine) that would definitely headline it but I don’t know if I can get to that level by then. But if I can get the Southern Area title that could headline it. There’s a lot of good guys from Luton that are turning over, there’s a kid called Jordan Reynolds who’s a top amateur and he’s turning over soon. I don’t know who he’s going to go with but it would be great if he could get on the show too. Me and Michael Devine would generate a lot of interest in the area; he already has a good following and I’ll grow mine after this David Haye card."
Whether an event at Kenilworth Road comes to fruition remains to be seen early next year. Undoubtedly there is growing interest around the area in it's fighters and Prospere will boost his own profile after the January 16th bout at the O2. A convincing stoppage win against a respectable opponent would do wonders for his exposure to UK fight fans and go some way to justifying the faith put in him by Steve Goodwin and co. There is a reason that faith has been shown in him; he is charming and charismatic outside of the ring with a sharpness to him that is matched when he steps between the ropes. He is ambitious, focussing not just on the steps directly in front of him but with a wider perspective to what he wishes to achieve. He may not be the youngest prospect in the sport but there is no doubt that with his already impressive knockout ratio and still he insists plenty more in the locker to show off, Prospere is ready to make 2016 a year of success for himself and his new promotional outfit. January 16th isn't his card to headline, but it is his to make a statement. The rest of the year he can establish himself in the light welterweight division and look to start gathering the titles that he craves in the professional sport. He may be a contradiction in many ways, but to date Prospere's career has been lineal and straight forward; wins and stoppages. As long as that continues then there a bright future lays ahead.
Prospere is looking to work with local business to help support his progression through the professional ranks. Any prospective sponsors can contact Kay through Twitter using @k_prosper1