Cheers to the Heels: Reintroducing and Repackaging Prince Patel
I wanted to hate Prince Patel. I wanted him to live up (or sink) to the reputation that came before him. I was hoping to walk away with a folder full of controversial quotes, outrageous self-promotion, and gratuitous insults.
But something unexpected happened. A few hours spent in the Prince’s company made me admire the man who has upset so many members of the British Boxing Association, from fellow competitors to confirmed champions to former pros to journalists and fans by the thousands.
Perhaps because our conversation was conducted without an audience. Maybe because it wasn’t done on social media, nor in front of a TV camera. Or maybe it’s just because he’s older and wiser, and at 30, Patel realizes the clock is ticking to fulfill his dream of becoming a “world” champion. that he needs to build bridges instead of burning them; And that a lot of people don’t appreciate the theatrics of professional wrestling, which Patel says he took his cues from as a young pro.
“In wrestling, I always prefer heels,” he says. “Look at (WWE Champion) Roman Reigns – he’s great as a heel. As a (good guy) face, he was boring.
“I used to watch ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin disrespect his boss live on TV; it brought in huge viewing numbers. D-Generation I’ll be the bad guy.
“The idea in professional boxing is to get people talking. It’s show business. The things I said were just to provoke a reaction; I wanted people to talk about me. Let’s face it, as a flyweight/bantamweight, no one cared otherwise.
“I thought I was doing something good. I thought it was obviously tongue-in-cheek. Muhammad Ali didn’t go home to his family and scream at them ‘I’m the greatest!’
“I’m just an ordinary guy. I do a lot of charity work. If there’s a way I can help someone, I will do it. Charity was ingrained in me by my mother.
“But people looked at that character, and they thought it was the real me, and they didn’t like it. It should be an Oscar-worthy performance! But yeah, it backfired.”
Patel turned professional in October 2015 after a largely successful amateur career, in which he won a Schoolboy’s Golden Gloves, two CYPs (now NABCs) and two Tri Nations Championships, as well as twice reaching the ABA Finals, but he claimed he didn’t like the paywall because ” “It wasn’t like that.” “I’m not allowed to express myself.”
He wasted no time getting into character once he shed the jacket, as the interview following his professional debut received more attention than anything he did in the 53 amateur bouts that preceded it.
Speaking to the IFL’s Kogan Cassius, Patel presented himself with the swagger and sense of entitlement of someone who has proven much more than just beating an unbeaten 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 pain,” and made several crude references to his sexual prowess and body parts.
If it was a deliberate attention-grabbing tactic, it worked. “Everyone wanted to sign me after that,” says Patel, who went with Frank Warren, expecting the combination of his bombast and Warren’s influence to form a perfect partnership.
After Patel’s second win, he was invited to participate Boxing hour for Ponce On BoxNation, a platform rarely available to beginners. If anyone was expecting the prince’s behavior to be disappointing, well… he did not disappoint.
He launched an unprovoked verbal attack on fellow guest Barry Jones, claiming “You don’t want to be in fights like Barry where no one wants to watch you… Nobody remembers him as a great champion; Nobody says, ‘Barry Jones, let’s talk about how he’s an amazing fighter.’ “He is a forgotten hero.”
It should be noted that Jones, as a former WBO titleholder, was already more accomplished than Patel (and still is), and is widely regarded as one of the nicest men in British boxing. He held his tongue as the scowling prince moved his tongue lewdly and declared himself a “superhero” and “the future of the industry.”
Eight years later, that future has yet to be realized, and while Patel may be right that evil sound bites do make good numbers on social media and wrestling storylines, they are less useful in a sport where progress often depends on aligning with the right people. He only got three low-level fights in the next two years before his contract with Warren expired.
“I never had Warren’s phone number, so I called his office every day for six months straight and they always said, ‘Oh, I just missed him,’ and he never called me back,” Patel says. “It wasn’t keeping me active. Guys below me – no respect to them – were getting opportunities while I was on the shelf.
“Even Vijender’s (Singh) show in India (in July 2017, televised by BoxNation in what was the first major professional boxing event in the country). It made perfect sense for them to take me, but they said no.
After leaving Warren later that year, Patel dropped off the British boxing map, but the Londoner traveled the world as a self-taught boxer. The 24 matches that followed were contested over the next six years in 10 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
“I got really depressed about boxing after I left Warren, and I went traveling with my lady at the time, just visiting different cities abroad,” he says. “I saw a (fight) poster in Budapest and thought I could box on it, so I contacted the promoter and got the license and boxed.
“It was the same in other countries. I just called the promoters and said ‘give me a list of people I can fight for this budget’. I just jumped into shows and started building the record. Now I’m known in those places; ask any boxing fan in West, East Africa or Eastern Europe, and they will know Prince Patel.
If Patel was indeed well known, most of his opponents were not, yet he brought with him from his travels a number of souvenirs in the form of at least 20 belts. These included completely anonymous names (BBU guys? No, neither did I), unnecessary regional bars for the big four sanctioning bodies (European WBO, African IBF), “world” titles for smaller bodies (WBFed, UBO), and, one way or another, Although Patel is a British citizen of Indian origin, he participated in the national championships of Hungary, Egypt and Tanzania.
Such baggage might make for good photos, but the belts also provide an opportunity for self-deprecation – something no one would have previously associated with Prince Patel. While he boasts on social media that he is “buried in gold”, Patel personally acknowledges the true value of his collection. “I love the picture of Floyd Mayweather with all his belts,” he says. “I could recreate that picture, but with a pile of shit!”
But there is one crown worn by the prince that has real value, and in winning it Patel received a real piece of history. In March 2021, by defeating Tanzanian Julias Thomas Kissawere in Ghana, he won the Commonwealth Championship (at 115lbs), making him the first Indian to do so.
Unfortunately, it was a result that was missed Boxing news. It was an honest omission, though son, blinded by all the decorations Patel had collected, assumed that the Kisaware fight was for more of the same. In fact, four pieces of Fool’s Gold were also available, perhaps eclipsing the famous Rainbow Belt, one of the few truly meaningful championships in the sport.
His lack of what was and remains the pinnacle of Patel’s career only heightened his belief that he was being deliberately overlooked. “I used to buy Boxing news Every week, but I stopped because they never wrote about me. I don’t understand how some boxers get written articles, yet I’m British and win recognized titles, and I don’t even get a mention.
This article will be the biggest traditional media exposure Patel has received since July 12, 2019. That was the night of his biggest fight, in front of a huge TV audience on Channel 5, supporting Amir Khan in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately for Patel, the spotlight he craved came when he suffered the first and so far only defeat of his 28-1-2 career; Unanimous decision of Venezuelan President Michel Banquez.
And he doesn’t offer any of the excuses you usually hear from the most honest boxers after getting beaten: “I didn’t really feel myself, but I’m not going to take anything away from him – I lost to a better guy.”
Patel will hope so son His emergence – and re-presentation as a more humble man – leads to a return to television, especially now that he has returned to boxing in the UK, having scored victories in London in April and September. Patel is still promoting himself, despite his partnership with Mo Prior, but he realizes that his dream of the ‘world’ title likely depends on the support of big names – and that he has a better chance of securing it if he doesn’t upset the wrong people.
But he finds it difficult to shake off his “heel” persona. Barry Jones’ public apology in 2021 did not sit well with the affable former champion. In a video on YouTube channel Boominator TV, Patel admitted he “verbally assaulted him (Jones) for no reason” and said “I was stupid, I was immature, I was naive in terms of the way I thought boxing worked… I’m sorry; I was “I was stupid, and I was naive.” I should never insult people, let alone a ‘world’ champion… I’m sorry for him; “I’m sorry if any of his family saw this… I want to apologize to my mom too, because I wasn’t raised that way.”
Forgiveness was not forthcoming. “It wasn’t personal; He just happened to be there. But attacking Barry kind of makes sense if I want people to talk about me, because he’s a likable guy. But he fulfilled my dream of becoming a world champion, so he had the last laugh, and he’s still laughing. We exchanged a few inbox messages, but he didn’t really accept my apology. “The mud sticks and I accept that.”
As with clay, reputation can also be difficult to get rid of. Controversy continues to dog Patel, and there will always be others ready to push his buttons, knowing his reaction will generate interest online.
Feuds with Charlie and Sunny Edwards continued for years. There was a falling out with former pro turned YouTube host, Tian Booth. Even heavyweight Frazier Clarke was finished off by this 118-pound man. There is an ongoing feud with Isaac Lowe – and by extension, the wider Fury family (Lowie is Tyson’s cousin), none of whom have been known to back down from a petty quarrel.
“I was doing a TV interview and Louie commented on my Facebook page saying, ‘You ass give up,’” Patel says. “I took a screenshot and put it on Twitter and said, ‘Instead of trying to bully me, why don’t we go boxing?’” They offered a number, and we offered “Same thing, then backed out. That was in March.”
Lewd videos and inane tweets have gone back and forth ever since, but any fight between the two would require careful weight negotiations, with Lowe being a featherweight at 139 pounds and Patel feeling the top flight prospect.
I’m confident I can beat him, but boxing is a dangerous sport. “You shouldn’t fight bigger guys,” he says. “I’ll put him in the bantamweight with a rehydration stipulation or the super bantam with a rehydration stipulation and weigh him on the same day. He won’t agree, though.”
If they do fight, it will create the kind of buzz on social media that they both thrive on, but given how son Usually frowned upon, holding a grudge would not be a more useful item on Patel’s wish list. “I’ve always wanted to be on the cover of a magazine Boxing news“,” he says. “Am I going to be on the cover of this?”
He let him down kindly. Appearance on the front page, if it happens, will depend not so much on views and conversations as on the prince fulfilling the promises he made more than eight years ago.
“I’m still in boxing to be a world champion,” he says. “I hate boxing. The only depression I get is through boxing. I feel rejected only through boxing. I have sacrificed my entire childhood, and the best years of my adult life, for this goal. I want to become the first Indian ‘world’ champion.”
Again, this will likely depend on Patel signing with a major promoter, and although he no longer wants to play the villain, he reminds any potential backer of the power of a showman.
“I can transfer a lot of tickets,” he says. “My videos get naked views. I don’t believe in fans and haters, they are all supporters if they buy tickets.
I have returned to the UK due to popular demand, and many Indians are supporting me. You can’t have a country of 1.5 billion people without having a “global” champion. “It’s a matter of who gets there first – and I hope it happens.”