If Liverpool wasn’t known for football, music and a delightful accent then it might be known for boxing. Merseyside’s current world champion Tony Bellew is in action at home this weekend taking on American chatterbox BJ Flores.
Scouse lads Derry Mathews and Ryan Farrag are also on the bill, but they have their work cut out against Luke Campbell and Ryan Burnett. Going further afield is Norfolk’s Ryan Walsh who is travelling to Denmark to try and take the European title from Dennis Ceylan.
It was third time lucky for Bellew in May, when he finally windmilled his way to a world title in less than three rounds.
Now the Liverpool cruiserweight is a huge favourite to win his first defence against US boxing pundit and part-time competitor Flores.
The pair have traded more insults than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but in the ring Flores has been remarkably quiet. In the last two years the 37-year-old has only been in two contests, winning once and losing once, and this is the first shot at a belt for the Yank.
It sounds like ‘Bomber’ Bellew should cruise through this contest and he’s just to win by KO, but let’s not forget the facts. The Brit has only stopped 57% of his opponents and he has been dropped in several outings.
In his last fight the ‘Bomber’ went into a shootout with Ilunga Makabu and came out with the world title, but this time I think he and Flores will start a little more cautiously.
There is value in the for the fight to go the distance and I’ll be backing Bellew on points at .
Campbell and Mathews seem to be approaching this British lightweight showdown from different directions. The 2012 Olympic champion has won a couple of belts and a fair few ranking points in his last two fights, while 33-year-old Mathews’ last contest was his 50th and his tenth defeat.
To be fair to ‘Dirty’ Derry he was fighting for a world title in his most recent bout, but Paddy still makes Campbell as short as to win. The favourite’s record isn’t perfect either though and he got knocked over again his last fight. Campbell is shaping up to be a young Amir Khan.
Khan still managed to become a champion despite his glass jaw and I expect Campbell to get through this contest at least.
Mathews is at home and will make it a tough night, so the best bet is for Campbell in rounds 7-12, however the x/1 for Campbell to be knocked down and still win is also worth a dabble.
Northern Ireland’s Burnett is another massive odds-on favourite as he tries to secure the British bantamweight title.
The young prospect was a Youth Olympic gold medallist and there are high hopes for him, but Farrag has his own amateur accolade in being one of the few people to beat Luke Campbell.
This isn’t the first time the Scouser has been written off and he’s always flashy, aggressive and up for it. The only issue is his chin.
Farrag has touched the canvas a few times in his career already and 12 rounds is a long time to survive against a slickster like Burnett, so we’ll go with the Northern Irishman.
Walsh saw his twin brother move into world title contention last weekend, but it has been a waiting game for Ryan.
One half of Norfolk’s favourite boxing twin team has to travel to Denmark to meet local lad Ceylan and take his shot at the European featherweight crown.
Ceylan has pretty much spent the last three years as a pro fighting nobodies, but he has a solid jab and can build pressure.
Walsh never backs away from a battle but being the smaller man he normally has to take few shots to get inside. The home boxer to win is a solid shout at .