I WANTED to dislike Prince Patel. I needed him to reside up (or down) to the popularity that preceded him. I hoped to return away with a file filled with controversial quotes, outrageous self-promotion and uncalled-for insults.
However one thing surprising occurred. A few hours within the Prince’s firm left me really liking a person who has upset so many members of the British boxing fraternity, from his fellow contenders to confirmed champions to ex-pros to journalists and to followers of their hundreds.
Perhaps it’s as a result of our dialog was carried out with out an viewers. Perhaps it’s as a result of it was not executed over social media, nor in entrance of a tv digicam. Or possibly it’s simply because he’s older and wiser, and at 30 Patel realises the clock is ticking on his dream to turn into a ‘world’ champion; that he must construct bridges slightly than burn them; and that many individuals don’t admire the histrionics of professional wrestling, from the place Patel says he took his cues as a younger professional.
“In wrestling, I at all times want the heels,” he says. “Have a look at [WWE champion] Roman Reigns – he’s good as a heel. As a face [good guy], he was boring.
“I used to look at ‘Stone Chilly’ Steve Austin disrespecting his boss reside on TV; it introduced in enormous viewing figures. D-Technology X [a rebellious wrestling faction] had been my heroes rising up. So [when I turned pro], I needed to be the dangerous man.
“The thought in professional boxing is to get individuals speaking. It’s showbusiness. The issues I stated had been simply to spark a response; I needed to have individuals speak about me. Let’s face it, as a flyweight/bantamweight, no person would have cared in any other case.
“I assumed I used to be doing factor. I assumed it was apparent it was tongue in cheek. Muhammad Ali didn’t go house to his household and shout at them ‘I’m the Biggest!’.
“I’m simply an peculiar man. I do a variety of charity work. If there’s a means I may also help someone, I’ll. Charity has been ingrained in me by my mum.
“However individuals checked out that persona, thought that was the true me, and disliked it. It will need to have been an Oscar-worthy efficiency! However yeah, it backfired.”
Patel turned professional in October 2015 following a largely profitable beginner profession, profitable schoolboy Golden Gloves, two CYP tournaments (now the NABCs) and two Tri Nations, in addition to twice reaching ABA finals, however claimed to dislike the unpaid code as he “wasn’t allowed to precise myself”.
He wasted no time moving into character as soon as he’d ditched the vest, with an interview following his professional debut garnering extra consideration than something he’d executed within the 53 beginner bouts that preceded it.
Speaking with IFL’s Kugan Cassius, Patel offered himself with the swagger and sense of entitlement of somebody who’d proved an entire lot extra than simply beat a winless journeyman in 90 seconds. He was prickly with Cassius, insulted then-English champion Charlie Edwards and his father, predicted greatness for himself, claimed to “like inflicting ache”, and made a number of crude references to his sexual prowess and physique components.
If it was a deliberate attention-seeking tactic, it labored. “Everybody needed to signal me after that,” says Patel, who went with Frank Warren, anticipating the mixture of his bombast and Warren’s affect to be an ideal partnership.
Following Patel’s second win, he was invited on to Bunce’s Boxing Hour on BoxNation, a platform not often afforded to novices. If anybody tuned in anticipating the Prince’s behaviour to disappoint, nicely… he didn’t disappoint.
He launched an unprovoked verbal assault on fellow visitor Barry Jones, claiming “you don’t need to be in fights like Barry the place nobody needs to look at you … nobody remembers him as an amazing champion; nobody goes ‘Barry Jones, let’s speak about he’s an unbelievable fighter’. He’s a forgotten champion.”
Jones, want it’s identified, was already, as a former WBO title-holder, vastly extra achieved than Patel (and nonetheless is), and extensively considered one of many nicest guys in British boxing. He held his tongue whereas the pouting Prince lasciviously flicked his and proclaimed himself “superhuman” and “the way forward for this trade”.
Eight years later, that future has but to eventuate, and whereas Patel could have been proper that villainous soundbites make for good social media numbers and wrestling storylines, they’re much less helpful in a sport by which progress typically is determined by siding with the proper individuals. He was given simply three low-key fights within the subsequent two years earlier than his contract with Warren expired.
“I by no means had Warren’s quantity, so I referred to as his workplace on daily basis for six months straight they usually at all times stated ‘oh, you’ve simply missed him’, and he by no means referred to as me again,” says Patel. “He wasn’t preserving me lively. Lesser guys than me – no disrespect to them – had been getting alternatives whereas I used to be on the shelf.
“Even the Vijender [Singh] present in India [in July 2017, televised by BoxNation in what was the first major pro boxing event in the country]. it might have made good sense to take me, however they only stated no.”
After leaving Warren later that 12 months, Patel dropped off the British boxing map, however the Londoner traversed the globe as a self-managed boxer. The 24 bouts that adopted over the subsequent six years had been contested in 10 international locations in Europe, Africa and the Center East.
“I received so depressed with boxing after leaving Warren, I went travelling with my missus on the time, simply visiting completely different cities overseas,” he says. “I noticed a [fight] poster in Budapest and thought ‘I might field on that’, so I referred to as the promoter, received myself licensed, and boxed.
“It was the identical in different international locations. I simply contacted promoters and stated ‘give me an inventory of fellows I can combat for this price range’. I simply jumped on reveals and began constructing the report up. Now I’m well-known in these locations; ask any boxing fan in West or East Africa or Jap Europe they usually know Prince Patel.”
If certainly Patel is thought, most of his opponents weren’t, but he introduced again from his travels a number of caseloads of souvenirs within the type of no fewer than 20 belts. They included the totally unknown (BBU Youth? No, me neither) the superfluous regional straps of the massive 4 sanctioning our bodies (WBO European, IBF African), the ‘world’ titles of minnow our bodies (WBFed, UBO) and, one way or the other, regardless of Patel being a British citizen of Indian descent, the nationwide championships of Hungary, Egypt and Tanzania.
Such a haul may make for good imagery, however the belts additionally present a chance for self-deprecation – one thing no person would beforehand have related to Prince Patel. Whereas he boasts on social media of being “buried in gold”, in particular person Patel admits the true value of his assortment. “I really like that image of Floyd Mayweather with all his belts laid out,” he says. “I might recreate that image, however with a pile of shit!”
However there may be one crown the Prince has worn which has real value, and in profitable it Patel claimed an actual piece of historical past. In March 2021, by beating Tanzania’s Julias Thomas Kisaware in Ghana, he received a Commonwealth championship (at 115lbs), making him the primary Indian to take action.
Regrettably, it was a consequence missed by Boxing Information. It was an sincere omission, with BN, blinded by all of the bling Patel had amassed, assuming the Kisaware combat was for extra of the identical. Certainly, there have been 4 items of idiot’s gold up for grabs too, maybe obscuring the well-known rainbow belt, one of many few actually significant championships within the sport.
Lacking what was, and stays, the excessive level of Patel’s profession added to his perception he was being intentionally snubbed. “I used to purchase Boxing Information each week, however I finished as a result of they by no means wrote about me. I don’t get how sure boxers get write-ups, but I’m British and profitable recognised titles, and I don’t get even get a point out.”

Prince Patel draped within the Indian flag

This text would be the greatest conventional media publicity Patel has acquired since July 12, 2019. That was the evening of his greatest combat, in entrance of an enormous terrestrial TV viewers on Channel 5, supporting Amir Khan in Saudi Arabia. Sadly for Patel, the highlight he craved got here when he suffered the primary and to date solely defeat in a 28-1-2 profession; a unanimous determination to Venezuela’s Michell Banquez.
He gives not one of the excuses you usually hear from extra outspoken boxers after being crushed: “I didn’t actually really feel myself, however I’m not taking something away from him – I misplaced to a greater man.”
Patel will hope this BN publicity – and his repackaging as a extra humble man – results in a return to TV, particularly as he’s now again boxing within the UK, having scored wins in London in April and September. Patel remains to be self-promoted, although in affiliation with Mo Prior, however understands his ‘world’ title dream probably is determined by big-name backing – and that he has a higher likelihood of securing this if he doesn’t upset the incorrect individuals.
However he’s discovering it exhausting to shed the ‘heel’ persona. A public apology to Barry Jones in 2021 didn’t placate the amiable ex-champ. In a video on YouTube channel Boominator TV, Patel admitted he “verbally assaulted him [Jones] for no cause” and stated “I used to be silly, I used to be immature, I used to be naïve as to how I assumed boxing labored… I’m sorry; I ought to by no means, ever be insulting individuals, not to mention a ‘world’ champion… I’m sorry to him; I’m sorry if any of his members of the family watched that… I wanna apologise to my mum as nicely, ‘trigger I wasn’t raised that means.”
Forgiveness has not been forthcoming. “It wasn’t private; he simply occurred to be there. However attacking Barry kinda is sensible if I needed to have individuals speak about me, as he’s such a likeable man. However he achieved my dream of being a ‘world’ champion so, if something, he laughed final, and nonetheless is laughing. We’ve exchanged a few inbox messages, however he hasn’t accepted my apology, actually. Mud sticks, and I settle for that.”
And, like mud, reputations could be simply as exhausting to shake off. Controversy nonetheless follows Patel, and there’ll at all times be others able to press his buttons, understanding his response will generate on-line consideration.
The feuds with Charlie and Sunny Edwards have continued for years. There’s been a row with ex-pro turned YouTube host Tyan Sales space. Even heavyweight Frazer Clarke has been wound up by this 118lbs man. And there’s a operating beef with Isaac Lowe – and, by extension, the broader Fury household (Lowe is Tyson’s cousin), none of whom have ever been identified to again down from a petty squabble.
“I used to be doing an interview with TV and Lowe commented on my Fb, ‘your bum give in’,” says Patel. “I took a screenshot, put it on Twitter and stated, ‘as a substitute of attempting to bully me, why don’t we field?’. They supplied a determine, we supplied the identical, he went again on it. That was in March.”
Foul-mouthed movies and trash-talking tweets have gone backwards and forwards since then, however any combat between the 2 would require cautious negotiations about weight, with Lowe a featherweight who’s boxed as excessive as 139lbs and Patel feeling he’s greatest at super-fly.
“I’m assured I’d beat him, however boxing is a harmful sport; you shouldn’t combat guys who’re rather a lot greater,” he says. “I’d field him at bantamweight with a rehydration clause or super-bantam with a rehydration clause and same-day weigh-in. He received’t agree, although.”
In the event that they did combat, it might create the sort of social media buzz each thrive on, however given how BN usually frowns on grudges, it wouldn’t additional a extra healthful merchandise on Patel’s wishlist. “I’ve at all times needed to be on the duvet of Boxing Information,” he says. “Will I be on the duvet for this?”
I let him down gently. Starring on the entrance web page, if ever it occurs, would rely much less on views and chatter than on the Prince delivering on guarantees made greater than eight years in the past.
“I’m solely nonetheless in boxing to be a ‘world’ champion,” he says. “I hate boxing. The one melancholy I get is thru boxing. I solely really feel rejected via boxing. I’ve sacrificed my complete childhood, the perfect years of my grownup life, for that aim. I need that standing of being the primary Indian ‘world’ champion.”
Once more, that will most likely depend upon Patel signing with an enormous promoter, and whereas he could now not want to play the heel, he reminds any would-be backers of the facility of a showman.
“I can shift a variety of tickets,” he claims. “My movies get naked views. I don’t imagine in followers and haters – they’re all supporters in the event that they’re shopping for tickets.
“I’m again within the UK by in style demand, and a variety of Indians are getting behind me. You may’t have a rustic of 1.5 billion individuals and never have a ‘world’ champion; it’s about who’s gonna get there first – and I hope to.”

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