The ExCeL London plays host to a crucial night for British boxing on Saturday evening, as two all-British grudge matches top the bill, with an intriguing undercard of action also taking place, while in America two former Ricky Burns opponents fight for the WBO world lightweight title.
Fury vs Chisora, Saturday night 7.00pm, BoxNation
We were less than a week away from the long awaited rematch between Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora back in July, before Chisora was forced to withdraw due to a serious hand injury. Fury was then set to fight giant Alexander Ustinov, but also had to pull out due to serious family issues.
Barring a tremendous amount of bad luck, the rematch finally now looks set, with a world title opportunity on the line for the victor. Fury is 22-0, but has only fought once since April 2013 following two fights with David Haye falling through, and after his fight with Chisora was postponed, the 26-year-old is desperate for a showcase performance.
Meanwhile, Chisora has been far more active, and the 20-4 Londoner has beaten good opposition since being stopped by David Haye in 2012, and a five-fight win streak has included wins over the likes of Kevin Johnson, Edmund Gerber and Malik Scott, while his weight loss over the years has seen him become a better boxer.
Chisora weighed 261 pounds against Fury in their first fight in July 2011, and he is expected to weigh at least 20 pounds lighter for Saturday. Their first clash was not a classic, with both men tiring quickly, but it was Fury who was victorious, taking Chisora’s undefeated record and the British title.
Both the British and European titles are also on the line here, but a bout with Wladimir Klitschko is also in the offing for the winner. Fury is the favourite with the bookies at 4/11, with Chisora available at 11/4. Those odds may seem high considering Fury’s inactivity, and waywardness in his last fight against Joey Abell, but there is a prevailing feeling in the boxing world that he may always have Chisora’s number.
As if that fight wasn’t big enough, the chief support has arguably piqued the attention of the public even more, as Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr compete for the British, Commonwealth and European titles which are currently all held by Saunders.
With a record of 20-0 as a professional, Saunders has had a steady, if not spectacular career so far, but has managed to defeat many good fighters over his 20 fights.
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On the other hand, Eubank’s opponents have been nowhere near as impressive, but due to the hype surrounding his father, and his sparring prowess, he has been fast-tracked to this fight. Many people wonder if his last name wasn’t Eubank whether he would even have this fight, let alone have low odds of 6/5, but the fact remains, he has stopped his last ten opponents, and has supreme confidence in and out of the ring.
Saunders is the narrow favourite at 4/5, and has specialised in defeating previously undefeated opponents, handing the first professional losses to Emanuele Blandamura, John Ryder and Spike O’Sullivan in his last three fights, plus Australia’s Jarrod Fletcher.
The boxing world is completely split in this fight, with some pontificating how Eubank has any chance against such a well rounded and experienced fighter, while others are assured of the pedigree and quality of Eubank, and believe this will be his coming-of-age fight.
One thing is for sure, unlike last weekend’s clash between Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew, the animosity between the two men should translate well in the ring, as their styles should gel spectacularly.
The undercard in London offers even more close clashes, as Frankie Gavin puts his British welterweight title on the line against Bradley Skeete, Liam Walsh and Gary Sykes battle for the British and Commonwealth super featherweight titles, Frank Buglioni is against the undefeated Andrew Robinson, while there are also fights for Eddie Chambers, Lewis Pettitt, Mitchell Smith and Ahmet Patterson.
Crawford vs Beltran, Saturday night, BoxNation
Later on that evening in Omaha, Nebraska, hometown boy Terrence Crawford makes the second defence of his WBO world lightweight title against Raymundo Beltran.
Crawford is 24-0 as a professional, and outclassed Ricky Burns in Scotland back in March to win the championship, before dropping Yuriorkis Gamboa four times in June to solidify his position as the best lightweight in the world.
That world title however could, and perhaps should have been won by Beltran in September 2013, as he dropped Ricky Burns, and broke the jaw of the Scotsman during their clash, but despite dominating much of the bout was forced to settle for a draw which saw him go home without the belt.
This is his chance to finally win the title that eluded him over a year ago, but Crawford is looking unbeatable at the moment, and is 1/6 on to successfully defend, with Beltran a massive 6/1 long shot.
In non-televised action on Saturday night there are British bills taking place in London, Gateshead, Walsall, Doncaster and Barnsley.Reuse content