The third of the ‘Big Three’ fights this weekend, marking the end of a five week heavyweight bonanza. Deontay Wilder enhanced his killer reputation with a conclusive first round KO, AJ suffered a shocking loss, and Tyson Fury can win us some of Paddy’s money with an unspectacular win in Las Vegas this weekend.
On a huge night for the ‘sweet science’, Josh Warrington defends his crown against long term rival Kid Galahad, the WBSS cruiserweight semi finals feature the unification clash between Mairis Briedis and Krzysztof Glowacki, and all three action packed undercards are worth a gander as well.
Schwarz is a nightmare opponent for Fury and the raspy-voiced Brit has shown worrying flaws in his recent bouts – no, not really, but I feel a little less confident than I did two weeks ago about saying that the 16/1 German outsider is a club fighter who has no right to perform in Las Vegas on pay-per-view.
Earlier this year it looked like Tyson was about to sign up for the Wilder rematch when, out of the blue, the giant heavyweight signed to fight on ESPN for mega-bucks instead, and that agreement demanded at least one “profile-raising” bout – obviously, Fury’s 12th round biblical recovery in December didn’t go viral enough.
— dean ward (@deanward1234) June 8, 2019
Step up, Tom Schwarz – an unknown 25 year old from Sachsen-Anhalt with no recognisable names on his record. Against journeymen the 6’5 Schwarz looks fairly slick – a bit like a cheap Tyson Fury imitator – but the one time he faced a half-decent opponent he struggled.
Even if the former unified champ proves to be levels above Schwarz it’s no guarantee we’ll see a swift finish. Fury does his best work against come-forward fighters and Schwarz is straight out of the German jab-and-move school.
You are more likely to see an ‘Ali shuffle’ than Fury chase the knockout, even with the expectation of the America crowd, and I am getting flashbacks of the big man’s snooze-fest against Francesco Pianeta last August.
Bet of the bout: Fury by unanimous decision at 15/8.
If you’re staying up for Fury, make sure you catch Jesse Hart versus Sullivan Barrera (above) as the main support act. The light heavies go at it for some precious ranking points and both men have only lost twice apiece, always to world champions.
But the real reason this contest is must-see is not for the quality but for the action. Both fight aggressively and both have been dropped several times. Hart is the fresher man with the faster hands and he can come away from a rollercoaster contest with a points win.
Last year couldn’t have gone any better for Warrington. Leeds’ featherweight supremo wasn’t well known outside of the Elland Road massive before he beat two of the world’s top five 126 pounders, who also happened to be British rivals Lee Selby and Carl Frampton, and now he’s got another domestic duel with Galahad.
Kid Galahad – aka Barry Awad from Sheffield – is 29 and unbeaten in 26 bouts, but he had to rebuild his reputation after accidentally ingesting something naughty in 2014 and being sat on the sidelines for more than a year-and-a-half.
Warrington showed nuances to his game against Selby and Frampton that he hadn’t shown in a professional ring before, but both of those former champs had an air of complacency and no ‘Plan B’. Galahad won’t fall into that trap and the draw at 20/1 is worth a punt.
What worries me about Galahad is his low hands and bully-boy approach. That works against a certain calibre of fighter but not against a fast, accurate world champion. Warrington beat Galahad twice as a junior amateur and he’ll make it a hat trick in conclusive fashion on his home patch.
Bet of the bout: Warrington by KO at 10/3.
Two Commonwealth title fights kick off the championship action at the First Direct Arena this Saturday.
In the light middleweight division, James Metcalf is favourite to bring home the belt against former British champion and world title challenger Jason Welborn. It should be a war but neither man has the weaponry to take the other out – back the draw at 22/1.
There will be more speed on display in the earlier clash between Zelfa Barrett and Lyon Woodstock but the fight won’t be over any quicker. Woodstock has the hustle but lacks the power to trouble the classier Barrett. The bet in this one is Barrett to take the super featherweight crown via a decision.
The WBSS bantamweight and super lightweight finalists are confirmed but the remaining two cruiserweight spots are still up for grabs, and No. 1 seed Briedis has home advantage when he takes on Poland’s Glowacki in Riga. There’s two titles on the line and the winner will be favourite to claim the massive WBSS cash prize.
Briedis and Glowacki share a loss to pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk. That’s the only time either man has felt defeat, but the Latvian was just one round away from upsetting the Ukrainian great. Briedis is the more skillful fighter – but his last five wins have been on points – have a punt on the same result again.
Bet of the bout: Briedis to win on points
A man who doesn’t usually have a problem finishing fights early is the favourite in the second semi-final, Yunier Dorticos. Aiming to stop the Cuban is Andrew Tabiti. The American’s lack of activity in the ring will cost him the win. I like Dorticos to get an uncharacteristic decision victory.
*Prices correct at time of publishing