There’s a double hit of British boxing action this weekend.
In Birmingham Kal Yafai makes the first defence of his world title against Suguru Muranaka and on the same bill Sam Eggington is looking to relieve Ceferino Rodriguez of his European belt.
Over in Leeds home-town hero Josh Warrington hopes to move one step closer to a shot at global glory with a win over Kiko Martinez and Jazza Dickens faces Thomas Ward for British honours.
Yafai put together an imperious record of 20 victories from 20 fights before he decisively won the vacant super flyweight world title in December against dangerous former champ Luis Concepcion. Now the new king has to beat Japanese pressure fighter Muranaka to keep his crown.
Muranaka has two blotches on his record, but his last defeat came way back in 2006. The Tokyo native has fought exclusively in Japan, however the domestic scene in the lower weight divisions in the Far East is alongside the best in the world.
A world title win in your first fight abroad is a big ask for anybody and Paddy makes the away fighter long odds to pull off the win.
Yafai is too fast and too well schooled for his challenger, while Muranaka’s front-foot style will also suit him. You can get the Brummie at 4/11 to win by KO, but boost your odds by backing a Yafai win in rounds 1-6.
Bet of the bout: Yafai to win in rounds 1-6 @ 5/2.
Eggington is a big favourite to go home with a new belt on Saturday night and continue his impressive form which includes KO wins against Paulie Malignaggi and Frankie Gavin.
Rodriguez is the continental welterweight champion, but he only sneaked the title on a split decision in his last fight after being dropped in the final frame.
Sam ‘The Savage’ earned his nickname through his relentless pursuit of his opponents, he’ll need to be at his most feral to trap and take down the elusive Spaniard.
No champ gives up his accolade easily, however Rodriguez might avoid brawling with Eggington even if a loss is on the cards and that’s why I am steering clear of a stoppage result in this one.
Bet of the bout: Eggington to win on points @ 11/8.
In preparation for the world title shot Warrington will surely get in the next 12 months, the Leeds lad is testing himself against former champ Martinez. Paddy clearly expects Warrington to pass the exam with flying colours and makes him a big odds-on bet.
Losses to Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz have resulted in Martinez falling down the rankings, but it also show the class he’s operated in. That experience and his hairless dome betray Martinez’s age of just 31.
Both fighters like to come forward and be aggressive, however the Brit’s dismal KO ratio of 21% and Spaniard’s recent record of one KO win in seven fights don’t impress.
This fight will come down to stamina and speed, and Warrington is too fresh for Martinez.
Bet of the bout: Warrington to win on points @ 5/6.
Mixing it up for the British super bantamweight strap are Liverpool’s Dickens and County Durham’s Ward. The Ward family are plotting revenge for older brother Martin’s loss to Jazza in 2015.
The younger sibling is unbeaten in 20 fights as a pro but the record is so thin it’s almost transparent. No big names, no 12 round contests and only two KO victories reveal Ward’s inexperience.
Ward is a slick boxer but Dickens’ southpaw stance and energy will probably be enough to unsettle and overwhelm the youngster.
Bet of the bout: Dickens to win @ 1/2.
* All odds correct at the time of posting.