There have been scraps of boxing from the US and the BT studios, but this Saturday “Egg” and “Cheese” give us the first fight since lockdown that we can really sink our teeth in to.
Ted Cheeseman and Sam Eggington top the bill in Eddie Hearn’s back garden, and there’s a fan-friendly undercard featuring knockout artist James Tennyson versus “granite” Gavin Gwynne for a British title, and top prospect Jordan Gill against “bomber” Reece Bellotti.
Let’s punch out some bets then:
The first headline fight worth getting excited about of the “new normal” takes place in the unusual surroundings of an empty Essex mansion, but super welterweights Cheeseman and Eggington will be familiar to most casual boxing fans for their recent wars.
“The Big Cheese” is the favourite but he’s coming off the back of three bloody bouts without a win. The 24-year-old was fighting at British and European level last year and he’s admitted to having personal problems, so on Saturday he’ll be looking to show he’s far from finished.
“Savage” Sam is no stranger to losses either, but he’s on a four-fight win streak since being stopped by the world class Liam Smith. The midlands man also has notable victories over Paulie Malignaggi and Frankie Gavin.
Despite the one-side odds, the pundits are finding it hard to split the former British champions.
Cheeseman is the better boxer with more ways to win, but Eggington has the experience and the engine to take the fight to the trenches.
I don’t believe either man will lack any motivation going into this one. The winner gets put back in the mix with the top British and European 154-pounders, while the loser will become a target for the next crop of rising prospects.
I expect Ted will take the first few rounds, but you can’t tell me Eggington doesn’t have a good chance of causing an upset if the fight goes the full 12 rounds.
Chief support on Eddie’s lawn is a 12-round scrap for British lightweight title between Tennyson and Gwynne. Northern Ireland’s Tennyson is the power puncher with 22 KOs from 26 wins, but Gwynne is a tough Valleys man who has never been stopped.
The rangy Welshman was a good amateur and if he can negate Tennyson’s attacks, he’ll fancy his chances against a boxer who’s been stopped three times. The price for Gwynne to win by stoppage is a decent bet, but my cheddar is going on Tennyson by decision.
Most people would claim Gill is the biggest prospect on the undercard and Paddy’s puts the slick East Anglian featherweight at odds on to win against Bellotti. The Watford banger has lost three of his last five, but one of those was a close decision defeat to the current British champ Ryan Walsh.
Gill blamed his first loss last year on illness, but even considering that he didn’t show the heart of a champ. Both men have been Commonwealth king and there’s little evidence that Gill is a level above his opponent. Back a relentless Bellotti to win on points at a big price.
25-year-old Fabio Wardley has shown all the signs of a world class heavyweight in the making.
His opponent, Simon Vallily, is a solid British level fighter at cruiserweight but I don’t expect him to be more than a stepping-stone this weekend. Fire into Wardley in rounds 5-6.
Making up the quintet of contests on Sky Sports is the sixth professional fight for former top amateur Dalton Smith.
Don’t sleep on this guy because he’s knocked out four of his opponents and Nathan Bennett probably won’t hear the final bell either. Smith by KO looks good to me.
* Prices on our snazzy new bet widget are bang up to date.
Ted Cheeseman v Sam Eggington: Eggington on points or decision
James Tennyson v Gavin Gwynne: Tennyson to win by points or decision
Jordan Gill v Reece Bellott: Bellotti to win on points or decision
Fabio Wardley v Simon Vallily: Wardley to win in rounds 5-6
Dalton Smith v Nathan Bennett: Smith to win by KO
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