Matt Gipon: Josh Warrington can make Selby date count

Boxing expert Matt Gipon looks at Saturday night's big fights, where the Leeds home crowd for Josh Warrington could make a difference if he gets ahead...

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This Saturday Prince Harry might be punching more than any other bloke on the planet but there are a few boxers in the UK and Canada who might come close.

In Leeds, featherweight champ Lee Selby has a tough battle on hands to retain his title against domestic rival and local lad Josh Warrington, while there’s a wealth of British talent on the undercard including Nicola Adams, Jack Catterall and Ohara Davies.

Across the Atlantic there’s the huge contest between the rocket-fisted, long term light heavyweight boss Adonis Stevenson and the relentless two-weight champ Badou Jack.

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LEE SELBY v JOSH WARRINGTON

The bout between Selby and Warrington has been in the courting phase since 2015 when the Welshman won the belt, which is even before Harry met Meghan, but for once a fight has been timed perfectly.

This will be Lightning Lee’s fifth championship defence and Selby is only 2/9 to keep his belt against the unbeaten first time title challenger.

Even without the slick skills and iron chin that brought about the nickname ‘the Welsh Mayweather’, Selby wouldn’t be too worried about the power coming from an opponent with only six KOs in 26 bouts.

Selby expects to win but with a stoppage ratio of only 33% he’s no KO king either, and he’s just 8/13 to win on points.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 15: Lee Selby (r) fighting Jonathan Victor Barros during the fight for the IBF World Featherweight title at Wembley Arena on July 15, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Leigh Dawney/Getty Images)

The size advantage is also in Selby’s favour but squeezing down to the featherweight limit has always been a struggle. Aged 31 and against an opponent he expects to beat the weight might be harder than ever to make.

If Warrington notches up a couple of rounds in the first half of the contest, buoyed by the boisterous home crowd, he can turn his volume punching into points on the judges’ cards.

The draw at 20/1 is a decent bet but the value is for Warrington to take the title courtesy of a decision.

Bet of the bout: Warrington to win on points at 4/1.

Undercard

Before the main event gets lively there is plenty to keep you interested. Nicola Adams is making her fourth professional appearance and she should be able to lay a marker by laying out tough Argentinian opponent Soledad del Valle Frias.

Jack Catterall is a talented fighter waiting for a big bout but I expect him to underwhelm slightly against game Frenchman Mohamed Kani. There should be no such problem for Ohara Davies who will KO the experienced Christopher Sebire.

ADONIS STEVENSON v BADOU JACK

Stevenson has steadfastly avoided Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev and any other light heavyweight he deemed a threat to his title in his five year reign; which can only mean that the bully-boy Canadian thinks he will comfortably beat Jack.

Kovalev calls him Adonis Chickenson but his fans know him as ‘Superman’ because of trademark thrusting straight left hand from the southpaw stance.

Stevenson is lethal with his back hand and he’s particularly dangerous in the early rounds, having recorded his last five stoppage wins before the end of round six.

MONTREAL, QC – JUNE 03: Adonis Stevenson poses for photos with his trainer SugarHill Steward (left) and Sam Watson (right) during the WBC light heavyweight world championship match at the Bell Centre on June 3, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Adonis Stevenson defeated Andrzej Fonfara in the second round by way of technical knockout. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

You can get 13/5 for the champion to win in rounds 1-6 on home turf this weekend.

In the past year we’ve seen speed-and-reflexes guys like David Haye and Manny Pacquiao really struggle as they’ve entered their late 30s. Stevenson turned 40 last September.

Jack is best known for upsetting George Groves and tormenting James DeGale in a draw at super middleweight. After moving up a division ‘The Ripper’ butchered Nathan Cleverly almost as quickly and comprehensively as monster-puncher Kovalev.

The Swede is still improving as a fighter and he’s underestimated by Stevenson. If Jack can navigate the hazardous first few rounds then he can take advantage when Stevenson gases and close the show as new champ.

Bet of the bout: Jack to win in rounds 7-12 at 6/1.

*All odds Correct at time of posting

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