The wait is finally over ladies and gentlemen for the biggest fight of the year so far. This is the first time in history that Britain have hosted a heavyweight unification flight on these shores. Here is my breakdown and prediction on IBF, WBA & IBO champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20KOs) verses WBO holder Joseph Parker (24-0, 18KOs)
The world heavyweight showdown has every ingredient needed to be remembered as one of the greats. Not only do we have 4 different versions of the world title on the line but it means we edge closer to one ultimate heavyweight champion.
You only need to look at their collective professional records of 44 wins, no losses and 38 knockouts to know this really is a close contest. Both fighters are young and still have plenty of miles left on the clock.
There has not been any trash talk between the fighters, in fact it’s been the complete opposite. We just have two confident fellers that have a lot of respect for each other and believe in their own abilities. If you wanted to find a bit of needle then you could pull on the rivalry between the north and south hemisphere. Granted it’s more associated to the rugby than boxing but a rivalry nonetheless.
British and world No.1 Anthony Joshua has had 20 fights with 20 knockouts and fought 65 rounds. The Londoner has an excellent combined opponent record of 484-137-11.
The Olympic gold medalist made his debut just over 4-years ago and flattened the undefeated Emanuele Leo in the first round. It’s quite remarkable what the Londoner has achieved in just a short space of time.
At 6-0 the 28-year-old took only two rounds to dispatch British veteran Matt Skelton before getting rid of Denis Bakhtov within the same distance of a scheduled 10.
Victories over British fighters Michael Sprott and Gary Cornish plus American Kevin Johnson followed. The first real test for the Watford boy was against old foe Dillian Whyte for the British and commonwealth titles. After being wobbled Joshua regrouped and knocked out Whyte with a thunderous uppercut, in a real British tear-up that got my vote for domestic fight of the year 2015.
The Londoner then became the IBF champion of the world when he knocked out undefeated American Charles Martin. After two further defences against another unbeaten American Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina the fight against Wladimir Klitschko was scheduled.
With the IBF, IBO and WBA titles all on the line, AJ knocked out ‘Dr Steelhammer’ in round eleven after being floored in the sixth to become the unified world champion in front of 90,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium.
Carlos Takam was a durable late replacement in Joshua’s last fight due to mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev pulling out through injury. AJ won comfortably by stoppage but was criticised for a less then stellar performance.
The 26-year-old is ranked at No.7 in the world, fought 123 rounds in 24 fights and has a 75% knockout ratio with an impressive combined opponent record of 513-108-14.
The New Zealander turned pro in 2012 and raced into a 5-0 record before he faced his first real challenge against South African Frans Botha who he knocked out in two.
Brian Minto became another victim in Parker’s eighth fight before wins over Sherman Williams and Jason Pettanay put him at 12-0.
Matched against three seasoned pros; German, Yakup Saglan and two Ozzie’s Bowie Tupson and Kali Meehan, Parker knocked them all out.
It was 2016 when Joseph stamped his authority onto the heavyweight scene when he defeated Carlos Takam by unanimous decision.
A second round knockout victory over Alexander Dimitrenko once again showed that Parker has power but his controversial victory over Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr showed a few chincks in the armour. It was this majority decision that earned Parker the WBO strap.
In the Vegas-based fighters last appearance he put on a less then impressive display against Brit Hughie Fury. In a drab affair which was more down to Fury’s awkward style Parker retained his title for the second time on points.
Both fighters have been tested and matched up well but their is no doubt that Joshua has gained the most valuable experience so far.
Standing at 6’6” with a 82” reach AJ has the height and reach advantage on Parker and he will impose that huge frame upon his opponent.
There will be questions asked of Joshua’s stamina and chin. Will AJ empty the gas tank and leave himself vunrable in the later rounds? Will a big shot unsettle and wobble the big Londoner, it is all very possible. But getting knocked down by a Klitschko right hand does not make him chinny.
The early tactics for Joshua should be to work behind that jab in the early exchanges. Parker does have a tendency to drop his left hand which leaves him exposed to an over hand right. Although he does have speed and good accuracy Parker flicks his jab to measure up for a big right hand. Joshua on the other hand can take the centre of the ring by countering and imposing his excellent strong jab.
If AJ can push his opponent back onto the ropes and cut the ring off then Parker will be bang in trouble. Whether it’s one big shot that rocks Parker or a combination of shots, Joshua will eventually get to him.
When big Josh finally does catch Parker his instinct will be to fight fire with fire rather than tie up his man. I can then see AJ finding a bit of space on the inside and detonating his trademark uppercut which Parker is susceptible to.
Trainer Kevin Barry has been vocal about Parker’s granite chin but withstanding a Joshua combination is a different kettle of fish.
Joshua may need to tap into that valuable experience he gained against Klitschko if he finds himself in a spot of bother. We won’t know if Parker can shut out the crowd and stand up to the relentless pressure that he will inevitably endure until fight night.
I think we will see a lighter, faster and more improved Joshua which sounds like a recipe for disaster for team Parker.
Both fighters have their flaws but both will have improved from their last fights and they will improve again after this one. I think Anthony Joshua will win but it won’t be plain sailing. As long as Joshua doesn’t overlook his opponent, which I don’t think he will then I expect a stoppage between rounds 6 to 9.
In hindsight we can all breakdown the fight and give good valid reasons but when it comes to the heavyweight game everything can change in a instant. As Joe Louis once said: “Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.”
Good luck to both and defeat will not be the end of the world, it will be just one bad night on the record.
These are the thoughts and words of Joshua expressed to a free English newspaper that is publish everyday during fight week.
“I’ve always been a 12-round fighter. Even in the early days when I was winning fights in the first couple of rounds, instead of going back to the changing rooms and showering and relaxing, I’d go another 10 rounds on the pads with my trainer.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I love a knockout, but I’ve always been prepared to go the distance if anyone can stay with me that long. So, I’ve been preparing for nights like Saturday — when anything can happen — for a long time.”
“I’ve never lasted the distance in the pro ranks but, that’s not my fault; it’s just my opponents have never lasted that long. Team Parker say their man has the capabilities to last physically for 12 rounds as he’s shown in his previous fights. They’ve praised the hard work that he’s put in during his camp and have also said that the elbow surgery after his last fight will rejuvenate his performance.”
“It’s now just two days away and already the atmosphere is building. There was a great turnout at the open workout on Wednesday and, with every twist and turn, you can already feel the buzz and excitement from the Cardiff crowd.”
“All that is left now is the weigh-in. There has been a lot of talk about my weight and there will be a lot of interest to how we both measure up on the scales.”
“I spent this camp focusing on improving my technique and ability and I feel razor sharp, which people will be able to see that at Friday’s weigh-in. I try not to talk about him much as it’d get to his head but I think Eddie Hearn deserves a mention for putting on this event.”
“The guy knows how much unifying the division means to me and how much the public want to see the best fighters go head to head in the ring. In that quest, he has brought Joseph Parker over to the UK so that on Saturday night the people watching in the stadium, in the pubs or at home, will get to see two heavyweight world champions in action.”
“I know I’ll win and add another belt as I get one step closer to unifying the division, something no one has done since Lennox Lewis 20 years ago. But I’m not the only draw: among others there’s Joshua Buatsi, who’s well worth a watch and reminds me of Evander Holyfield.”
“There’s no shortage of entertainment on the under card and I think it will go down as one of the greatest nights in British boxing history.”
“Of the main event, Parker and I both boast a 100 per cent win record so I know he is coming over here full of confidence in his ability to cause me problems — and he has gone as far to say that, if he hits me cleanly once, I will be out.”
“He sat at the press conference on Tuesday and stated the belts were his and he was going to take them back to New Zealand. Samoa, the island where his family are from, also announced a day of prayer this week in honor of Parker, so there is a lot of pressure on him to perform as he has the weight of two countries on his back.”
“Parker says he has the speed advantage over me and that will be a decisive factor but I know how to counter-punch, make him pay and make him miss. I’ll punish him when he’s throwing at me and I’ll punish him when he’s thinking of throwing at me.”
“I’ll break him down. It will be a tough night for him. A wise man once said anticipation and timing beats speed, it’s not just a big punch it’s the counter-punch, footwork and timing that he will have to deal with.”
“I know that the fans are excited at the prospects of 2018 but we have to focus on the fight this Saturday to ensure we can achieve the goals we’ve set. We have to embrace the moment as every fight is a blessing and every fight has a reason in the long run.”
“Parker adds to my journey. He is the WBO heavyweight world champion and a worthy opponent. Physically and mentally I have prepared for this fight and I’m ready for the challenge.”
“Parker is not — he won’t have encountered anything like the roof closed — a Dragon’s Den at the Principality Stadium. He’ll find out very quickly on Saturday night that there is nowhere to hide with 78,000 fans wanting to see me knock him out.”
These are the thoughts and words of Joshua expressed to a free English newspaper that is publish everyday during fight week.
“Every fighter’s different in their character and, with Joseph Parker, there’s echoes of Wladimir Klitschko.”
“Yesterday, I was back in the Sky Studio for a press conference – the last time I was there doing that it was the Klitschko fight. And like Wladimir, I respect how Parker remained professional and conducted himself so well; none of the trash talk.”
“I like to think the message that my trainer Rob McCracken relayed put everything into perspective and that’s why I am so confident going into the fight.”
“He can seem like the quiet man in my corner but he’s so influential – he teaches me to be mentally strong and not rely just on my physical attributes alone.”
“It’s a common refrain for a fighter at the pre-fight press conference to say they are in great shape and that it’s been their best camp as a fighter – then come fight night they actually fail to deliver. In contrast, Rob trains me to produce.”
“The belief he shows in my ability is the reason that I train 110% for each fight as he knows the standard I can reach and ensures I hit it with every session.”
“From our perspective, the talking is done now and it’s time to focus purely on the fight. My base is now in Cardiff, where I’ll be for the rest of fight week for final preparations. The city has become a bit of a home from home for me now.”
“Parker and his team have also made their way across and tonight we get to see what he looks like at the open workout. For me, the hard work has been done in camp so I prefer to use the open workout to entertain and interact with the people who take the effort to come down.”
“The support I have received over these last few months and years doesn’t go unnoticed, so these opportunities are good to meet those who turn out.”
“This is my third stadium fight in a row now. I started out in small leisure centres and halls during my amateur days — you have to start somewhere — and imagined big nights of boxing at York Hall and the O2 Arena.”
“My fight against Carlos Takam at the Principality Stadium last time was the largest indoor crowd in boxing history so we are breaking records.
“I have shown that I can rise to the occasion, but this is Parker’s first experience of the atmosphere. He has said he is not going to let the occasion beat him but what you think you are going to feel and what you actually experience are two different things.”
“It’s show time and everyone is watching. He will now see that the whole build-up is bigger than anything he’s used to in terms of the open workout and the weigh-in on Friday. This is where the fight really starts to hype up.”
“When there are so many people cheering and the place is really rocking, will he decide to shut out the noise and waste energy, or ride the wave and become over-excited?”
“If he’s cool, calm and collected, he’ll be able to ride the wave and surf it until the 12th round. But it depends on his character. Is he a Klitschko or not?”
“It is daunting, it is overwhelming and it’s an experience he hasn’t faced yet. If he manages to control himself like a true champion then we will go to war.”
These are the thoughts and words of Joshua expressed to a free English newspaper that is publish everyday during fight week.
There has been a lot of talk this week about what lies ahead after I fight Joseph Parker on Saturday night — that’s always the way in boxing.
But looking beyond a fight like this is both a big mistake and an unnecessary distraction.
That said, I get the conjecture as the heavyweight division is booming at the moment with a lot of star names and attractions.
But you can never look beyond the man standing in the ring opposite you. Yet I do understand the bigger picture and the fact that winning the WBO belt is another step towards unifying the division.
Parker was the one who agreed the deal to fight so I have to respect him for stepping up as it genuinely could have been Deontay Wilder.
Wilder got a win against a credible fighter in Luis Ortiz at the start of the month but, after nine years as a pro, he’s supposed to do that.
It was his 40th fight. By my 40th fight, no one should be giving me any problems. I should be a seasoned professional.
Instead, he goes around America shouting “bomb squad” and that he is the WBC world heavyweight champion but, only when he’s ready to sign the contract, will we find out what he’s really about.
If I had to compare both fighters, I would say Parker is the more dangerous opponent.
Wilder has an unpredictable style and explosive power whereas, with Parker, he has a bit more of an all-round game as you can talk about his speed, stamina and his good chin.
He doesn’t throw many combination punches but he throws more than Wilder. There has never been one champion in the heavyweight division who relied solely on power and one punch so the stats and facts suggest that Parker is the tougher fight.
Of the others, Dillian Whyte did well at the weekend and everyone knows the history between us in the amateurs and at the O2, in 2015, and people would want to see a rematch.
Dillian was saying that he would love to fight me three, four or five times as we bring the best out of each other and I don’t back down from someone who wants to go to war. Although I’m hunting for the belts, he’s ranked with the WBC and is chasing down Wilder as well — so either way I’m looking to get my hands on that belt.
Tyson Fury has got a lot of people talking recently about the big news he is going to announce but I don’t spend any of my time thinking about him.
People want to see him back in the sport and he is calling out big names for his first fight back but, give it a couple of bouts and people will realise how boring he is again.
My only interest is to unify the heavyweight division so he isn’t even a potential opponent for me as he has no belts and hasn’t been remotely active.
Saying all this, plans for the future depend on getting the job get done on Saturday and I’m not looking past that… I can’t.
Everyone is interested in what is going to happen in 2018 and beyond but my full focus is on Parker. Then it’s properly time to talk about the bigger picture.
Anthony Joshua’s fight diary is back! These are the thoughts and words of Joshua expressed to a free English newspaper that is publish everyday during fight week. I do know that you can pick up a free copy from every train station in London but I cannot say for sure if this is the case for the whole of England or the UK as a whole?
Saturday night is the first time in history that two reigning heavyweight world champions have met in Britain.
“This is all about putting everything on the line with one goal towards eventually becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. For me, this is just the next step towards that.”
“But you can’t lose sight of what is at stake. Stripped down, it’s the start of another fight week, there’s another opponent in front of me and it’s a return to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff of which I have happy memories from my last fight.”
“This time in the other corner is Joseph Parker, and the guy’s a worthy champion. He has every intention of putting on a show, he’s the current WBO heavyweight champion of the world and boasts a record of 24 wins with 18 coming by way of knockout.”
“His team firmly believe he has the ability to do it on Saturday night and, from that first press conference on Friday, you can see he doesn’t lack for confidence. He’s made it clear he has just one plan – to take all the belts home with him.”
“I can’t tell you how the fight is going to go. We are both fast, you will see good combinations from both fighters, which is unusual in heavyweight bouts. I can see comparisons between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe in this fight – it should be electric.”
“Everyone knows there’s a lot of talk before these fight, and there seems to have been a lot of attention surrounding my weight, and whether I will be coming in to this one lighter than against Carlos Takam.”
“But the funny thing is that my weight right now is similar to what I was tipping the scales at the same point before Takam, and I ended up weighing the heaviest of my career to date!”
“Really, though, the weight’s neither here nor there. It’s never been that important before in my career; the important thing is the training camp has gone well. It’s all about how I feel in myself and I’m feeling really good right now.”
“That said, there’s no complacency creeping in. I try to use each camp as a learning experience and now I understand that fight week is just as important as the camp itself. I am correcting my mistakes each camp to improve as a fighter and, as a team, we look at all aspects of training, with diet and time management not being overlooked.”
“For this camp, I have started training slightly later in the morning to increase the amount of sleep I get and I feel fitter and fresher. This is probably the first training camp where I start the fight week feeling well rested and enjoy doing the three sessions a day.”
“This has added to my confidence for this fight as I know that I have not missed a run or finished a training session early. In short, no stone has been left unturned ahead of Saturday.”
“Traditionally boxers get up early in the morning to train. The traditional pattern is a 5am run followed by breakfast and then straight into the boxing gym. I have been shifting my training patterns this time round, moving away from the traditional routine to suit the way my body works and I can really feel the benefits.”
“Going back to my weight, I heard Parker’s comments that I’m coming in lighter as I want to copy his style but that’s far from the truth.”
“We haven’t even had Parker-clones coming to sparring. My coach trains me to be better, to improve my technique and not to beat a certain style or opponent.”
“This is an advantage because I prepare for anything come fight night; if Parker tries something different in the fight, I will have worked on it in training and already have it covered.”
“I believe my sparring partners have noticed a difference as well. I remember when I used to want to tell my trainer Rob McCracken “man, I don’t have another three rounds in me” when he was pushing me to do the 15 rounds but now I’m feeling sharper and more focused and, after the 15 rounds, I’m looking around the gym seeing if anyone else wants to go three more.”
“This mentality has helped during this camp as I know the person on the other side of the ring is just as willing, and his team are also saying it’s his best camp for a long time.”
“We can anticipate what Parker is going to bring to the fight: he has fast hands and quick movement but I’ve been learning to deal with lighter and faster guys among my sparring partners, so that is why I am so confident.”
“With what’s at stake, this could be a very important year for me but I am not underestimating what I am up against this weekend.”
“I often say it but a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter. I’m that and this it’ll be two hungry young fighters putting it all on the line.”
Dereck Chisora (28-8, 20KOs) made a return to the ring on the Whyte-Browne undercard making light work of French opponent Zakaria Azzouzi (14-3-2, 10KOs).
The 34-year-old Londoner was in buoyant mood in and outside the ring. First of all he finished off Azzouzi in the second round with a right hand straight down the pipe.
Then during his post-fight interview he called over potential opponent Joe Joyce and his promoter David Haye to discuss a contract. To be exact he called over David and his little chiwawa and I say discuss but it was more like a comedy sketch, funny and entertaining to watch none the less.
Del Boy said: “If there’s no titles in it, I want the money. They keep calling me the gate-keeper,”
I’ll do a deal with you now”. “Do you believe in him?”
“I’ll make a deal with you. If he beats me, you write me a cheque of £1. If I beat him, you give me your purse and the TV rights.”
The former heavyweight champion come promoter was quick to turn down the offer which was to be expected. Haye is not one to gamble his money away and would not dare sacrifice his purse bid for Chisora.
There are plenty of other possibilities for Joyce so I would move on quickly if I was in their shoes.
Frank Buglioni (21-3-1, 15KOs) lost his chance to capture the Lonsdale belt outright when he was stopped by Callum Johnson (17-0, 12KOs) in the light-heavyweight division.
Johnson sent the Londoner to the canvas before rocking him for a second time. The referee stopped the fight with 1min, 30secs on the clock in the first round.
I backed the ‘Wise Guy’ due to Johnson’s inactivity for two years but their was always a risk that something like this would happen.
Callum has now shot up the British rankings to become another big name in a competitive division domestically.
In the lightweight division Lewis Ritson (15-0, 9KOs) came through a first round onslaught from Scott Cardle (22-2-1, 7KOs) to win by stoppage in the second.
The 24-year-old geordie defended his British title for the second time in another solid performance. I don’t think there will be too many lightweights in Britain that will want to step in the ring against the ‘Sandman’.
Also on the card there were victories for Craig Richards, Anthony Fowler, Chris Kongo, Richard Riakporhe and Jamie Cox on a good night of boxing in London.
Dillian Whyte (23-1, 17KOs) produced the knock out of the year in his sixth round victory over Lucas Browne (25-1, 22KOs) under the big tent in Greenwich, London.
First and foremost I want to congratulate the medical staff at the O2 Arena for the way they reacted to the knockout, thankfully the Australian left the ring on his feet. He will spend the night in hospital as a precaution and be monitored throughout the night before hopefully being discharged in the morning.
In a one sided demolition the 29-year-old from Brixton was tagging the big Ozzy at will. With Browne’s guard down all night and absolutely no head movement, Whyte was able to connect with numerous power shots.
The ‘Body Snatcher’ as Whyte is also known managed to keep Browne on the back foot by throwing the double left jab. It prevented his undefeated opponent from landing his heavy right hand.
The 38-year-old looked out of his depth from the get go and the writing was on the cards from the first round when he sustained a bad cut to his left eye that was getting worse as the fight wore on.
Every round was pretty much the same with Whyte constantly hitting a human punching bag. Browne was taking a beating and it looked to me as though he’s nose was broken around the fifth.
Highlight reel knockout
Just before ‘Big Daddy’ stepped out for round six, his seconds must have been contemplating pulling their man out especially if he continued to sustain the sort of punishment he was receiving.
In the end it was Dillian who produced one of the best one punch knockouts I have seen in while. The Jamaican-native missed with a right hand but came back with a thunderous left hook that caught Browne bang on the side of the head and flattened him out cold.
Referee Ian John Lewis was busy forcing Whyte back to his corner before he noticed Browne completely unconscious on the canvas. The fight was immediately called off and the paramedics raced into the ring to give Browne oxygen.
Celebrations were cut short as the whole arena waited for Lucas Browne to regain consciousness. The Sydney man did return to his feet and give the crowd a wave before leaving immediately on a wheelchair. Kudos to Dillian Whyte for maintaining his composure once he realised the severity of the situation.
Wilder or I’m coming to America to kick off!
In the interview after the fight the ‘Lone Wolf’ was quick to call out the WBC champion Deontay Wilder. A pumped up Whyte said, “Listen, Deontay Wilder where you at? June, where you at Wilder let’s go! Let’s go!”
”I’m ready! Let’s get it Deontay! Let’s go. No more excuses. Let’s do this, June live at the O2. Let’s get it. I’m number one baby!”
Whyte continued ”I’ve proved to everyone that I’m world class. Loads of people have been writing me off.”
”I just beat a former world champion in six rounds tonight so that should tell you where I’m at”.
When asked about a potential match up with the winner of Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker next Dillian replied, “He [Joshua] should forget that. Listen, the WBC are good people, they’re loyal people and they seem to stick to their words.”
”People are tiered of Wilder fighting these half way guys. Joshua ain’t gonna fight him next so his next fight is me. If he fights someone else I’m going to go to America and kick off.”
Joshua-Wilder? More like Joshua-Whyte 2
One thing is for sure Dillian Whyte did prove himself tonight and I believe that he deserves a shot at a world title. Billy and Sal will curse me for saying this but Whyte should be Wilder’s next fight and not Joshua.
For one, AJ has a difficult assignment against Parker so there is absolutely no assurance that Joshua comes away next weekend with all his titles in tact.
If Parker does pull off a major upset then a rematch will take place in August. Even if Joshua wins, I’m sure one of the governing bodies will force a mandatory fight in the summer or Joshua loses on of his titles.
To be perfectly honest I don’t care if we have to wait until the end of the year for Joshua-Wilder. Just as long as it happens this year. But to be even more brutally honest, I believe in Dillian Whyte and I don’t see him as an underdog against Wilder I actually see him as a slight favourite.
Whyte proved tonight that he has the skills to neutralise a big right hander and his dangerous left hook is back.
On that note, I leave you with this….
….Joshua vs Whyte 2 for all the titles at Wembley Stadium at the end of the year.
Just my two pennies worth.
We have exciting domestic fights, hot prospects and the return of Dereck Chisora all on the Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne under-card.
British light-heavyweight champion Frank Buglioni (21-2-1, 15KOs) will be making his third defence against Callum Johnson (16-0, 11KOs).
East-Londoner, Buglioni was a hot prospect not too long ago but since a couple of defeats he has been unfairly written off by some. Ranked at No.2 in Britain and 23 in the World, the ‘Wise Guy’ is by no means finished yet.
Since making his debut in 2011 Frankie has fought 134 rounds in 24 fights with a 63 percent knockout ratio and a combined opponent record of 300-244-16.
The 28-year-old was making good progress until a shock knockout defeat against the unknown Siarhei Khamitski in 2013. The Enfield fighter recovered well with five wins and a draw until he was beaten a second time against Fedor Chudinov on points.
In one of the domestic fights of the year in 2016 Buglioni captured the British light-heavyweight title with a twelfth round stoppage against undefeated Hosea Burton.
Two more victories followed against two undefeated fighters in Ricky Summers and Craig Richards.
Challeneger Callum Johnson (16-0, 11KOs) is making a return to boxing after two years away from the sport due to health problems.
The 32-year-old who won gold in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow while representing Scotland has had 16 bouts, acculturated 53 rounds and has a 69 percent knockout ratio.
Although Callum’s record on paper looks good you have got to question the quality of his opponents. Other than Willbeforce Shihepo who he knocked out in nine rounds he really hasn’t faced anyone even half as good as Buglioni. A combined opponent record of 123-255-18 is a clear reflection of the sandard he was competing at before the long lay off.
Due to Callum’s inactivity I am picking Frank Buglioni to win the Lonsdale belt outright in his third defence. With that being said Johnson does have a punchers chance as he clearly does carry punching power in the light-heavyweight division.
In another intriguing domestic match-up in the lightweight division we have Lewis Ritson (14-0, 8KOs) squaring off against Scott Cardle (22-1-1, 7KOs).
Ritson is ranked at No.4 in Britain and Cardle at No.6. Sandman as Ritson is also known has had 14 bouts, fought 61 rounds and has a knockout ratio of 57 percent. The 24-year-old is the current British champion after knocking out Robbie Barret in seven. He then went on the defend his title in fantastic fashion when he destroyed Joe Murray in the first round.
His opponent and challenger is 4-years his senior and has fought 153 rounds in 24 fights with a knockout ratio of 29 percent.
Ritson will be favourite to retain his title against Scotty Cardle who lost the British title against Barrett in April last year. I can only see one winner in this fight and that is Ritson by way of knockout.
Dereck Chisora (27-8, 19KOs) returns to the ring after 3 loses in his last 5 and amid speculation of a fight with Joe Joyce. His opponent is Frenchman Zakaria Azzouzi (14-2-2, 10KOs) who should be nothing more than a lay-up fight before ‘Del Boy’ makes a decision on his next move.
Craig ‘Spider’ Richards (10-1, 4KOs) is hoping to get back to winning ways after losing to Frank Buglioni in his last visit to the ring he takes on Croat Ivan Stupalo (12-11, 3KOs).
Super-middleweight Jamie Cox (24-1, 13KOs) also returns to the ring following a loss to World Boxing Super Series finalist George Groves. The southpaw from Swindon is taking an 6-round stay-active fight against Harry Matthews (15-25-2, 2KOs) before taking on John Ryder (25-4, 13KOs) on the Haye-Bellew under-card.
And finally on the card are three guys in the early stages of thier careers. Bermondsey boy Chris ‘2slick’ Kongo (7-0, 5KOs) is a 25-year-old 6’ foot welterweight to look out for.
Another cruiserweight from London to keep an eye on is Richard Riakporhe (5-0, 4KOs). The 28-year-old from the Aylesbury Estate off the Walworth Road will more than certainly be on a collision course with either Lawrence Okolie or Issac Chamberlain at some point.
Lastly, super-welterweight Anthony Fowler (4-0, 3KOs) is a feller that I have tipped for big things. The Liverpudlian is fighting undefeated Frenchman Kalilou Dembele (6-0-2, 2KOs) and will be back out next month on the Khan-Lo Greco card.
Enjoy the fights ladies and gents!
This Saturday night at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London, Dillian Whyte (22-1, 16KOs) takes on undefeated Australian Lucas Browne (25-0, 22KOs).
The 29-year-old from Brixton, London is currently ranked at number 2 in Britain and number 9 in the world. In 23 fights he has clocked up 104 rounds of boxing and has a 70% knockout ratio with a combined opponent record of 311-273-32.
Currently ranked as the No.1 contender for the WBC title ‘The Body Snatcher’ is hoping that victory will make him the front runner for a shot at Deontay Wilder this summer.
After turning pro in 2011 Whyte has lost only once to the current unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Even though he was stopped in the seventh round he managed to put in a credible performance against AJ. He even became the first opponent to notably rock the undefeated king of the heavyweight division.
Since that defeat he won a unanimous decision over Dave Allen and made Ian Lewison retire in the tenth.
Dillian Whyte then beat Dereck Chisora by split decision in a twelve round war that got my domestic fight of the year in 2016. In the Londoner’s last performance we defeated Robert Helenius on points in a less eventful contest.
Standing at 6’ 4” Whyte gives his Australian opponent a 1 inch height advantage but has the slightly longer reach by an inch.
Lucas Browne is 9-years older than Whyte and has had only 1 fight since his return from a drug ban after winning the WBA title in Russia against Ruslan Chagaev in 2016.
Ranked at No.15 in the world ‘Big Daddy’ has a knockout ratio of 88% and has accumulated 117 rounds in 25 fights with a combined opponent record of 450-251-28.
The man from Sydney was the same age as Whyte, 29 when he turned pro in 2009. Within that time he has faced tough opposition, including veteran James Toney who he defeated by unanimous decision.
Browne recovered from a first round knockdown to beat Travis Walker who failed to emerge from his corner in the seventh round.
In a busy 2014; the Ozzy managed to knockout Eric Martel Bahoeli in round 5 after suffering from a cut to his left eye, win a unanimous decision against undefeated Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko, who was 24-0 at the time. Then he stopped experienced pro Chauncy Welliver in the fifth.
The 38-year-old has pretty much been inactive for two years and will need to draw on the performance he showed in Russia if he is to get anything from this fight on Saturday night.
Between the pair of them they have a combined record of 47 wins and 38 knockouts which indicates that it’s highly likely that someone will get stopped.
Personnlly I’m going against the grain here and I expect Whyte to come out victorious on points. I do think it will be an entertaining fight and it wouldn’t surprise me if one or both fighters hit the canvas at some point.
Whyte will look to incorporate his jab and feel his way into the fight for the first few rounds. It’s inevitable that someone will get caught which will open up the fight up into a bit of a slugfest. It could be a slow burner at first but I am expecting fireworks from the middle rounds onwards.
I do think that Browne’s long lay-off will have a part to play as well as the age-factor. Whyte has fought decent opposition during Browne’s suspension which gives the younger man an advantage going into the championship rounds.