More than 90,000 people will turn up at Wembley on Saturday night to witness the battle between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko for the heavyweight championship of the world. AJ claims the event will be the ‘passing of the baton’, but I’m expecting it to be a ‘violent mugging of the baton’.
The stadium showcase is also hosting the bout between Scott Quigg and Viorel Simion with the winner receiving a title shot, Luke Campbell’s first taste of a world-level opponent in the shape of Darleys Perez, and Katie Taylor’s fifth boxing exhibition against the over-matched Nina Meinke.
- The four best bets highlighted in each fight (below) come in at approx 90/1 at time of writing if placed in an accumulator.
Without the foul-mouth barrages, fancy dress interludes and offensive t-shirts, the preamble to Joshua vs Klitschko has been a little bit understated. But don’t expect a a quiet fight between the two former Olympic champions.
Most British boxing fans seem to think that Klitschko is going to get folded and put away easier than a deck chair this weekend. Even the pundits aren’t giving the former heavyweight king much more of a shout.
Joshua has a 100 per cent KO wins in his professional career, but Klitschko’s record is not too shabby either. The Ukranian Olympic champion has won 78 per cent of his contests by stoppage, however that falls to 50 per cent in his last 10 bouts.
Even if the challenger hurts the champion, it’s unlikely he would commit to a fully fledged, knock-out assault. Tyson Fury befuddled Wlad with his footwork and size, but Joshua will outwork his opponent and be more aggressive.
It’s not completely improbable that Joshua makes it back-to-back decision defeats for Klitschko but it is 11/2.
Dillian Whyte wobbled AJ and Dominic Breazeale showed an iron chin, but both could only delay the inevitable Joshua KO win by a few rounds. Klitschko has more experience than anyone in the heavyweight division but if you trawl through Wlad’s record, there’s nobody with the power of AJ.
Matt Gipon’s best bet: Joshua to win in rounds 7-9 @ 4/1.
Former super bantamweight supremo Scott Quigg produced a stunning debut in the featherweight division when he left the supposedly rock-solid Jose Cayetano crumpled in a heap and counted out in December.
Now the Bury bruiser is back in an eliminator bout for Lee Selby’s title. Saturday’s opponent is a former Selby victim, the experienced, aggressive, but imminently beatable Simion.
The Romanian was 32 when he gave Selby a decent scrap, but three years on he’s slower and been away from the top level for too long.
Quigg is short odds to win, however I’m much more interested in the 7/4 for him to get the KO.
The Brit has scored stoppage victories in five of his past six wins and he’s looking strong with the extra weight allowance.
Matt Gipon’s best bet: Quigg to win in rounds 7-12 @ 3/1.
Campbell is taking another step up in class when he faces former lightweight champ Perez this weekend. The Colombian is on a poor run of only one win in four and two KOs in 12.
The two loses on his record, including the one to Manchester’s Anthony Crolla, illustrate the blueprint to beating him.
Perez has also been dropped several times before and Campbell’s sharp-shooting skills makes him odds-on to win by KO. Hull’s finest won’t go chasing the stoppage though, as he’s been floored twice before himself.
The away fighter is barely world level but he’s better than both the boxers who took Campbell 12 rounds previously. If Perez can hurt Campbell, the huge 14/1 for him to sneak victory via the judge’s scorecards could be on. More realistically, Campbell should show plenty to get the nod.
Matt Gipon’s best bet: Campbell to win on points or by decision @ 15/8.
It’s no secret that Ireland’s Katie Taylor is a super talent and apart from the very top female boxers in the world, no one is going to give her a real test. Meinke has a winning record, but she’s only completed 16 rounds as a pro and she’s moving up in weight to make the contest.
Taylor has 10 rounds to get rid of Meinke, but she might only need a few. Taylor to win in rounds 1-3 is 7/1 and that’s the best value in the group-round betting.
However, it’s a safer bet to just stick with an Irish win inside the distance.
Matt Gipon’s best bet: Taylor KO/TKO @ 4/7.