Half the line-up have caught a cold but this Saturday’s pay-per-view boxing event at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium is going ahead and we still have some top action to get betting on.
Boxing’s pin-up boy Anthony Joshua defends his heavyweight crown against Carlos Takam in the headline fight, with Katie Taylor, in just her seventh pro contest, battling Anahi Esther Sanchez for her global title.
Kal Yafai puts his belt on the line against Sho Ishida, while the undercard includes the heavyweight attraction of Dillian Whyte vs Robert Helenius.
When Joshua is fighting it’s big news, even when his original opponent pulls out two weeks before the event and the replacement is a 36 year old with three defeats on his record. Takam, however, is certainly not the worst heavyweight contender in recent years.
We all know AJ is the nice-guy world champion with 19 KOs from 19 bouts but Takam has also spent a bit of time in the limelight. The challenger has faced, but lost to, both the 2004 Olympic champ Alexander Povetkin and current title-holder Joseph Parker.
The French-Cameroonian is five inches shorter than Joshua but will probably weigh about the same on the night.
He’s been described as having a ‘Mike Tyson’ style and if he had ‘The-Baddest-Man-On-The-Planet’s’ power he might stand half a chance.
As it is, the best Takam can hope for is to score a knockdown but even then we know Josh can get up and win, and that outcome is 14/1. The thing that is going to hurt ‘Colossal Carlos’ is his lack of head movement and I think the Brit will be landing freely after a couple of rounds.
Joshua will probably win this in rounds 3-8 but Paddy doesn’t offer odds on that, and if he did they wouldn’t return much. The bet for the big price punters is the champ to win in rounds 5-6 at 7/2. Personally, I’ll be taking slightly shorter odds for a few more rounds.
Bet of the bout: Joshua to win in rounds 5-8 at 12/5
Nobody should be surprised that Taylor has a title shot less than one year after turning pro, neither should they be surprised that she’s a 1/33 favourite to come away with the belt. Women’s boxing doesn’t have huge strength in depth but ultimately the Irishwoman is just an awesome fighter.
Sanchez picked up the vacant lightweight strap in September having only moved up to lightweight four months before. The Argentine has lost twice, once by KO in bloody battle and once on points to the virtuoso but cotton-handed Eva Wahlstrom.
This challenge is a step up for Taylor and Latin fighters are not known for being easy to handle.
Paddy makes his compatriot odds-on to win by KO and if you think the fight will end early have a look at Taylor to win in rounds 9-10 where she’s 5/1.
My money is going on the new champion of the world to be crowned by the judges’ decision.
Bet of the bout: Taylor to win on points at 2/1
The super flyweight division has more buzz than ever but to get big fights you need a big name, and to be a big name you need big fights. That’s the current predicament Yafai is in but a clinical KO win, to add to his world title and widening fan base, will put him in the picture for a mega fight next year.
Trying to tear up the script is the lanky Ishida.
The challenger is the second successive Japanese boxer Yafai has faced and although the Brit dominated his previous opponent he couldn’t stop him.
The land of Mount Fuji, sushi and kamikaze soldiers isn’t always associated with being a boxing hotbed but the lighter divisions are stacked with talent. Ishida has never had a contest outside of Japan but his unbeaten record shows he’s solid.
Birmingham’s Yafai always starts fast and all of his KO wins have come before the end of round 4. You can get 6/1 that Kal adds another round 1-4 victory to his record. But the best bet on this fight is for Yafai to win on the cards.
Bet of the bout: Yafai to win on points at 6/5
Both Whyte and his opponent this weekend, Helenius, think they are world class heavyweights but neither have the records to prove it. Win this contest and they still won’t be world level but they will be one step closer to a title challenge.
Last time Helenius battled a Brit it was Dereck Chisora in 2011 and the Fin came away with a controversial points win. ‘The Nordic Nightmare’ claims he’s a better boxer now but he’s only faced one half decent rival since then and he suffered a stoppage loss.
Big Dilly managed to beat Chisora a bit less controversially last year and he’s 1/6 to win on Saturday. A brawl would suit Whyte but Helenius will use his height and reach to keep the fight at distance.
Whyte should win this contest but if goes the distance then it could be close.