In Philly, the two best light heavyweights on the planet meet in a unification bout when Artur Beterbiev clashes with Oleksandr Gvozdyk. While in Blighty, bitter rivals Lewis Ritson and Robbie Davies Jnr finally come to blows, and Ted Cheeseman battles Scott Fitzgerald to be the best in Britain.
There’s not a lot that separates these light heavies – 34-year-old Russian Beterbiev turned pro in 2013 and won his world title in 2017, while Ukraine’s Gvozdyk, 32, did both things one year later. Paddy makes the younger man a 4/7 favourite and I also give the Ukrainian the edge.
The thing that makes this fight so special – beyond it being a unification between the number one and two in the division – is that both blokes are absolute bangers and both have been dropped more than once in their careers.
Gvozdyk won his belt from long-reigning king Adonis Stevenson via KO, and he’s also stopped leading contenders Yunieski Gonzalez and Isaac Chilemba. Beterbiev’s ledger is less impressive and his best win was when he smoked Britain’s Callum Johnson in four rounds.
The Russian is a very dangerous boxer – he’s knocked out all 14 of his professional opponents with his combination of power, pressure and aggression. Gvozdyk is most vulnerable early and I am tempted by the 15/2 for the Russian to win in rounds 1-3.
The younger man is also the fresher man and the slicker striker, and I think Gvozdyk can use his footwork in the early sessions to negate Beterbiev’s power. If Oleksandr starts landing his counters, then I think he will get the win in the second half of the contest.
Backstory: Ritson goaded Davies backstage at a fight and Davies went full scally and called the Geordie a “maggot”. After the footage went viral, Eddie Hearn could see the dollar signs and signed up these two former British champs for a spot of fisticuffs.
Paddy reckons it’s going to be either Ritson by stoppage or Davies on points, but with all the aggro in the air I can’t see it reaching the final bell.
‘The Sandman’ has only recently moved up to Davies’s super lightweight division, and Ritson can be hurt to the body. If the Scouser’s chin holds up he can stop the man from the North East in rounds 7-12 at 9/2.
But I just think Davies is too soft around the whiskers – the Liverpool lad was dropped early in his career and he was stopped by a powder-puff Pole in 2017. Ritson has home advantage and think he’ll send his fans home happy with an early finish.
Cheeseman is the man in possession of the British belt but he hasn’t won in two fights. Let me explain: the Londoner went up to challenge for the European title but he was outclassed, and then he drew on his return to British level. Paddy has lost faith and Fitzgerald is just 4/11 to win on Saturday.
Lancashire’s super welterweight is coming off the win of his career against Olympian Anthony Fowler, who is a bigger, better version of Cheeseman.
‘The Big Cheese’ always starts fast but he’s too easy to hit and he only has one KO win in his last six contests. I think ‘Fitzy’ will take over in the middle rounds and he’s shown more than once that his power extends to the later rounds.
*All odds correct at time of posting