Matt Gipon: Hooker, Horn and Fury – Sounds like a great Saturday night in the ring

Boxing expert and tipster Matt Gipon looks ahead to an interesting Saturday of fighting, including Tyson Fury's return to the ring...

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Larger-than-life entertainer, philosopher and boxer Tyson Fury is done with the pies and pints and finally makes his ring return in a mouthwatering clash against cruiserweight pudding Sefer Seferi this Saturday.

There are a feast of fights on the undercard including Terry Flanagan’s world championship bout with American Maurice Hooker and the British-Irish heavyweight beef between Nathan Gorman and Sean Turner.

For afters there are a trio of tasty title fights in the States: Jeff Horn faces Terence Crawford, Leo Santa Cruz rematches Abner Mares and Jermell Charlo meets Austin Trout.

Head over to paddypower.com for the latest boxing odds

He’s battled depression, substance abuse and a humongous gut but for his first fight in two and a half years Fury has never been more loved or a bigger favourite with the bookies.

It’s true that the 39-year-old Seferi is not much more than a journeyman with a padded record but Paddy hasn’t been shy in making the Albanian a big fat 25/1 outsider.

Other question marks against the south eastern European include the fact that he’s campaigned at the 14 stone four pound limit for most of his career and that he’ll be about one foot shorter and five stone lighter than Fury.

The one significant fight of Seferi’s career was at heavyweight, however, and he lost a unanimous decision against German fringe contender Manuel Charr.

It won’t be the first time Fury has faced a cruiserweight either and the big man was actually dropped by the USA’s former titleholder Steve Cunningham that night.

If Seferi carried the threat of Cunningham (which he doesn’t) and Fury was more rusty than an old nail from the shed then he might have a chance, but actually I expect to see a strong, refreshed and determined ‘Gypsy King’.

Fury caramelised Cunningham in eight rounds after being dropped and steamed a tough, experienced heavyweight like Chisora in 10 sessions, so surely he’ll take out Seferi in the early rounds.

Bet of the bout: Fury to win in rounds 1-5. 

Flanagan v Hooker

The real headline fight in Manchester this weekend – the one that has a belt up for grabs, is high quality and should be competitive – is the bout between Flanagan and Hooker.

Home town fighter Flanagan has been seeking a big name for a few years now and although he hasn’t got one at least he’s got somebody to scrap with after a year on the sidelines. The move up to super lightweight for this opportunity should suit ‘Turbo’s’ frame but it means he will be the smaller man for the first time in his career.

In addition to his size Hooker has the pedigree of fighting and drawing with former champ Darleys Perez and being the sparring partner for pound-for-pound star Crawford.

I make southpaw Flanagan a slight favourite but there are enough reasons to believe Hooker will push the Brit all the way. 5/1 for the visiting boxer to score an upset win seems like a great bet but having managed to draw three fights in his career already Hooker appears to be a stalemate specialist and I’m backing that result again.

Bet of the bout: Draw at 22/1.

Undercard

The best fight on the undercard is the big brawl between two young heavyweights. Gorman is the favourite with the impressive amateur pedigree, the height advantage and the faster hands. ‘Big Sexy’ Turner might not look like an elite fighter but he’s won 12 from 14, with eight inside the distance, and in his recent defeat he tested a huge prospect for the full eight rounds.

A solid bet is for Gorman to win on points at 4/6 but if you want a bit more bang for your buck get some money on Turner by KO at 10/1.

Horn v Crawford

One man is a welterweight world champion who beat Manny Pacquiao and the other is a two weight boss looking to take over a third division. Horn versus Crawford is a proper fight. Although Horn has the belt, the big win and the bigger frame Crawford is one of the best boxers in any division and he’s odds-on in this one.

Since battering Ricky Burns to take his first championship in 2014 Crawford has gone on to win nine title fights on the spin to bring his unbeaten record to 32 bouts.

Having barely lost a round, let alone a full contest, you have to pick Crawford to beat the fit and strong, but limited, Horn, and I think the Yank can finish the Aussie in the middle rounds.

Bet of the bout: Crawford to win in rounds 5-8 at 13/5.

Elsewhere in the States Santa Cruz puts his featherweight bauble back on the line against old foe Mares. It’s set to be an entertaining battle but it’s hard to look past another win for the champ. In the first fight Santa Cruz won by mixed decision and I expect him to win more comfortably this time but still on points.

To wrap up this week it’s current super welterweight champ and rising superstar Charlo against fading former titleholder Trout. These two are on opposite trajectories and Charlo can win by KO.

Find the latest boxing odds from around the world over on paddypower.com

What do you think?