Sandwiched between Deontay Wilder’s outrageous win last weekend and the epic Joshua-Ruiz rematch next weekend, we have a tasty little filler this Saturday.
Carl Frampton can secure a world title fight by beating America’s Tyler McCreary in Las Vegas, and the awesome Oscar Valdez moves up a division to take on tough Mexican Andres Gutierrez at the same event.
Earlier on Saturday night, there’s a card piled high with competitive scraps in Birmingham, including a world championship bout and three British title fights.
Frampton reckons he’s one win away from challenging for a world title and one loss away from retirement. It’s something we’ve heard before, but ‘The Jackal’ isn’t known for his verbal dramatics.
The man in the opposite corner is unbeaten 26-year-old McCreary. The Yank is huge for the weight, and he’ll try to use his height and reach advantage to claim the biggest scalp by far of his career.
A catchweight of 128lbs has been set for the contest – just between featherweight and super feather – but that’s only a couple of pounds north of where the Belfast man usually operates, and more or less bang on what McCreary regularly weighs in at – so no advantage there.
These boxers are also similar in the fact that they have both only won once by KO in their last eight contests.
The stoppages have dried up because both men have found their level – for Frampton that’s the world-class elite, while for McCreary that’s boxers with several defeats on their record.
The former two-weight world champion will be too sharp for a 17-fight novice and I expect Frampton to force the stoppage just after the halfway point in this 10-round bout.
Bet of the bout: Frampton in rounds 7-8 at 15/2.
For most us, we sailed past 57kgs as young teenagers, but Valdez has managed to keep his body under the svelte nine stone limit until the age of 28. But no more – the seven-year professional is moving up and he’s primed to win a title in another weight class.
Gutierrez isn’t a champion, but if Valdez can get past the tough Mexican he will almost certainly get a shot at a belt.
Gutierrez is that stereotypical tricolor boxer – turned pro at 15, he’s 26 and had 40 pro bouts, and his two losses have been on points.
Like in the Frampton fight, there are levels, and Valdez is an elite fighter with a new lease of life at super-featherweight. Gutierrez will come forward and pressurise, but Oscar is going to brutally break him down.
Bet of the bout: Valdez in rounds 5-6 at 11/2.
Birmingham, Saturday, 7pm-10pm
Unbeaten two-weight titleholder Zolani Tete returns to the ring this Saturday and he has the tough assignment of former champ John Riel Casimero (10pm). Casimero is relentless in the late rounds but he’s going to struggle to dent the huge bantamweight champion – back Tete on points at 7/5.
The three British title fights in the second city are Sam Bowen vs Anthony Cacace (super feather, 9pm), Chris Jenkins vs Liam Taylor (welter, 8pm), and Lerrone Richards vs Lennox Clarke (super middle, 7pm).
* All odds correct at time of posting.