The fights are flying at us from all angles on Friday night with the British one-two from York Hall involving Ryan Walsh’s domestic title defence against Lewis Paulin and Ohara Davies’ clash with former champ Miguel Vasquez.
We also have Paul Hyland Jr’s shot at European glory against Francesco Patera in Milan, and Richard Commey versus Ray Beltran for the lightweight world title is the late-night scrap from across the pond.
Francesco Patera outfought and out-thought Lewis Ritson to win the European lightweight bauble in October, only four months after Ritson’s most stunning performance when he disposed of Paul Hyland Jr in one round. Now Patera faces Hyland, and although it’s no foregone conclusion, you can see that the Irishman is up against it.
The Belgian 135-pounder can ‘mix it’ or move, but he’s susceptible to volume punchers. That isn’t really Hyland’s game and I’m worried that if the Belfast lad pushes the pace he could get chinned. Patera is not a known puncher but he’s an improving boxer and he’s got 12 rounds to do a job on ‘Hylo’.
Bet of the bout: Patera by KO.
Ryan Walsh is proper throw-back fighter – he’s a proud British champion but he’s struggled to get opportunities at a higher level. Thankfully, he seems more than happy beating up young prospects trying to take his national crown.
Lewis Paulin is a relative novice after only 12 professional bouts but he’s unbeaten and confident his freshness will be enough to cause Walsh to wilt. The major areas of concern for the Scot are the lack of pedigree on his record and his non-existent experience of going to the championship rounds.
Norfolk’s Walsh has only lost twice – to former world champion Lee Selby and former European governor Dennis Ceylan – and his recent record against the young bucks of British boxing is five wins and one draw. I fancy the champ to keep his strap with a middle rounds stoppage.
Bet of the bout: Walsh to win in rounds 5-8.
Ohara Davies is not interested in hanging around at British level but the two times he faced domestic rivals for the chance to progress to world level he’s come up short. This weekend he tries his luck against veteran super lightweight Miguel Vasquez – who’s name is still strong enough to use as a stepping stone to greater things.
Vasquez was champion back in 2014 but since losing his belt he’s won seven and lost three. Davies has all the physical attributes to make a run to the top but he’s struggled against more savvy boxers. The wily Mexican has only been stopped twice – by big punching world-level fighters – and I’m backing Ohara to nick this one on the judges cards.
Bet of the bout: Davies by decision.
Richard Commey and Ray Beltran may not be an elite champion and challenger but they will put on a cracking contest for the lightweight world title in California Commey has god-given heavy hands and he’s favourite to retain his strap, but Beltran has decades of experience and plenty of grit.
When opponent’s have stood up to Commey’s power he’s not looked amazing – he scraped past a couple of European-level guys in 2014 and he lost twice in 2016. I think Betran can do it and I will be betting on the Mexican to take ‘W’ by decision.
Bet of the bout: Beltran on points @ 8/1
*Prices correct a time of publishing