Dereck Chisora (32-10-0) vs Joseph Parker (28-2-0)
12 x 3 mins Heavyweight Contest
The enigmatic Dereck Chisora has a chance of upsetting the heavyweight applecart once more, if he can beat former New Zealand’s former WBO world champion, Joseph Parker.
Parker and Chisora were first due to fight in 2019 on the undercard of Josh Taylor versus Regis Prograis. However, it was not to be after a spider bite ruled the Kiwi. David Price saved that particular date by stepping in to face Chisora instead and ‘Delboy’ won by way of stoppage.
The hope was that Chisora and Parker might reschedule for a later date; however, the two went their separate ways for a while.
Chisora was set to take on pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Uysk in March 2020. The pandemic delayed that contest until Halloween 2020, with Chisora losing a pretty close points decision to the Ukrainian.
Upon returning to fitness after the spider bite, Parker had aneasy comeback bout against American Shawndell Terell Winters in February 2020. Again, the pandemic left Parker outof the ring for a year. Last February, he returned to facedomestic rival Junior Fa, winning by way of points.
It’s a quick turnaround for Parker, who recently split with long-time trainer Kevin Barry. Parker has now appointed former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee. Lee is a very well-respected young coach. He has a fountain ofcoaching knowledge to draw upon after being exposed to elite coaching from the late Emmanuel Steward, and ‘Dark Lord’Adam Booth.
It will be intriguing the style Parker adopts when taking on Chisora. The Kronk way that Lee champions, is to fight and beat the opponent into submission. Easier said than done in the case of Chisora, a human wrecking ball that refuses to take a backward step.
Chisora typically struggles with silkier boxers he cannot peg down, like Tyson Fury and Agit Kabayel. However, I cannot see Lee trying to get Parker to change his approach, rather play to his strengths. Therefore, it’s hard to foresee anything but a proper tear up on Saturday night in Manchester.
Like Parker, Chisora also has a new trainer, the renowned American coach and former world champion, Buddy McGirt. McGirt is a late addition to Chisora’s camp, publicly stating he will not try and teach an old dog new tricks, instead, building on the strengths ‘War’ Chisora already has.
It's an exciting fight and one that should gel into a real fan-friendly bout. I think it will be a battle of the chins, but if Parker can take Chisora’s best shots, I’d edge towards Parker, who is the better technical boxer, and was a well-schooled amateur, to take home the victory.
Prediction: Parker points but will not be surprised with a Chisora win.
Dmitry Bivol (17-0-0) vs Craig Richards (16-1-1)
12 x 3 mins World Boxing Association Super World Light Heavyweight Title
Craig Richards will be a massive underdog when he takes on for pound Russian superstar Dmitry Bivol.
Richards is no stranger to taking on tough challenges, once fighting Frank Buglioni on a few days’ notice. He's got an enormous opportunity to shock the boxing world with a victory over Bivol on Saturday night.
Richards is coming in off the back of a career-best performance against Shakan Pitters when beating the Birmingham man for the British title. Pitters was a heavy favourite against Londoner Richards. However, ‘Spider’ Richards went on the away show and ripped the title fromPitters, looking impressive in the process.
It’s a testament to Richards’s character that he has jumped at the chance of fighting for world honours. He could have taken a less dangerous fight against a domestic rival, but instead decided to roll the dice and take on arguably the best in the division. You must respect Richards’s ambition, and I fully hope that he can pull off something spectacular and surprise Bivol on Saturday night.
The problem for Richards is that Bivol is an elite fighter. He was a terrific amateur and hasn't been troubled once as a professional. He holds wins over WBO champion Joe Smith, Jean-Pascal, Isaac Chilemba and Sullivan Barrera, to name but a few.
You wouldn't expect Richards to beat any of the former, and though I'd love nothing more than for Richards to pull off a victory, it's almost mission impossible. If Richards can give a good account of himself against an elite fighter; he will earn other big opportunities, such as a shot at the European title.
If Bivol wins as expected, several fights would be good to make with Brits. Joshua Buatsi looks to be close to a shot at a world title, and Callum Smith, who Bivol beat as an amateur, is another potential opponent. However, the fight most would most like to see is a unification with Russian rival Artur Beterbiev.
Prediction: Bivol late stoppage.
James Tennyson (28-3-0) vs Jovanni Straffon (23-3-1)
vacant International Boxing Organization World Lightweight Title
Belfast’s former European super-featherweight, and British lightweight champion James Tennyson, returns against Mexican Jovani Straffon in what could be a barnburner.
Though most of his career has been on small hall shows in Mexico, Straffon has never been stopped and hasn't lost since 2017. He has a massive opportunity on Saturday night to make a name for himself by taking a big scalp in the form of Tennyson. He will hope to follow in the footsteps ofcountrymen Mauricio Lara and Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela, and upset a home favourite, after they each beat Josh Warrington and Robbie Davies Jr respectively.
‘The Assassin’ Tennyson will be eager to avoid any suchslipup himself. Confidence shouldn’t be an issue for Tennyson, who has his second shot at a world title, albeit the lowly regarded IBO title. Tennyson’s last world title tilt came against American Tevin Farmer in 2018.
Though Tennyson was stopped in that fight, the weight reportedly was an issue. He has looked flawless since moving up to lightweight, racking up six successive stoppages against good quality opposition. It’ll be interesting to see how Tennyson fares late on if Straffon is still standing, as the Northern Irishman is used to seeing opponents fall to his destructive power.
It’s a shame Tennyson will be fighting for the IBO title, but it’s easy to understand why when you look at the other world level fighters in the division. While Teofimo Lopez holds theundisputed titles, Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia hold the ‘other’ lesser world championships. It is a division stacked with talent. Although I'm a massive Tennyson fan, I wouldn’t fancy his chances against the elite in the division, especially with Loma, Linares, Campbell and Commey all floating about.
While Tennyson bides his time for a shot at a better title, it will be decent rounds for Tennyson against a sturdy opponent. I think Tennyson will win, and I expect him to grind down his opponent with his unrelenting power and become the first person to stop Straffon late on.
However, you can never write off a Mexican, so prepare for fireworks.
Prediction: Tennyson late stoppage.
Katie Taylor (17-0-0) vs Natasha Jonas (9-1-1)
10 x 2 mins Undisputed Super-Lightweight Titles
For me, the most exciting fight on the card has to be Katie Taylor versus Natasha Jonas.
The two former amateur rivals looked sure to be on a collision course from the moment Tasha followed in Katie's footsteps by turning professional. However, that plan was seemingly derailed after ‘Miss GB’s’ shock loss to Viviane Obenauf, who has recently been arrested under suspicion of her husband's murder.
While Jonas was left to lick her wounds, Taylor went from strength to strength. The Irishwoman has won world titles in two divisions, became undisputed champion at lightweight and won the ‘Ring Magazine Female Fighter of The Year'. Taylor has an outstanding claim for being the legitimate GWOAT that Clarissa Shields has proclaimed herself.
While Taylor has enjoyed the plaudits, Tasha rebuilt. Despite being underestimated by many, Jonas collected a string of wins before securing a world title matchup with Terri Harper at Fight Camp. Harper was the firm favourite and was expected to go through her former idol, Jonas, comfortably.
That wasn’t the case.
Jonas posted a stellar performance, with the fight ending in a controversial split decision draw. There is a very legitimate consensus among some that Jonas should have been declared the winner, and after the final bell, a rematch seemed inevitable.
Sadly, the return bout never materialised, and Harper and Jonas went their separate ways. Happily, though, Jonas gets a massive shot at becoming a global superstar by beating Taylor, though that's easier said than done.
I think experience will be the defining factor on Saturday night for Katie Taylor. She has numerous world title fights back to back, winning all with ease, barring those two Delfine Persoon bouts. Taylor is a unique fighter, and her achievements as both a professional and amateur are remarkable. In particular, the Jessica McCaskill victory, which looks even better after the American's back-to-back wins over Cecilia Braekhus.
Barring Harper, Jonas hasn't fought world-class opposition as a pro, and Taylor has been all over the world fighting on the most prominent of bills. Even as an amateur, Taylor was the woman to win when the two met.
Whatever happens, I'm sure it will be a great fight. Women's boxing has been a breath of fresh air. The two-minute roundswhich split the opinion of boxing fans, force the women to fight full-on for the whole round to try and win each, leadingto some exhilarating fights recently. I expect more of the same come Saturday night.
Prediction: Taylor points.
Chris Eubank Jr (29-2-0) vs Marcus Morrison (23-3-0)
10 x 3 Mins Middleweight Contest
Eubank Jr is another fighter with a legendary new trainer. The Brighton man has recently been training out in Florida with Roy Jones Jr, improving his craft. It will be interesting to see how this linkup has worked for Eubank, who is famously challenging to train.
Eubank Jr has had a strange few years. After his loss to George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series, Eubank bounced back with a routine stoppage of JJ McDonagh before beating a past his best James DeGale for the IBO 168lb title. Eubank then moved down to middleweight and got a victory over Matvey Korobov after the Russian retired due to an elbow injury in December 2019.
After a period of inactivity due to the pandemic, Eubank has signed to the Sauerland Promotion after leaving Al Haymon. Since signing for Sauerland, Eubank has been calling out Gennady Golovkin and insists he can beat him. We've heard this before from Eubank, who was supposed to fight GGG back in 2016. After delays, he lost out to Kell Brook, who took the fight instead.
It’s strange with Eubank because he does have an excellentchin and tremendous work rate. He just says silly stuff, like not needing a trainer. I would like to think that he has grown up and improved in recent years, but he’s such an unpredictable character, it’s hard to tell.
Marcus Morrison is a good fighter. Until coming unstuck against Jason Welborn, he was a highly regarded prospect. Since then, his career has waned slightly, with surprise losses to boxing weirdo, Tyan Booth and journeyman Alistair Warren.
He has rebuilt with several victories on small hall shows, and posted a good performance out in Italy, beating Emanuele Blandamura in Rome in July 2019.
A win would do wonders for Marcus Morrison to relaunch his career, but I just can't see it happening. Though painfully arrogant and plain deluded at times, Eubank has competed and beaten world level fighters. I feel Eubank's nonstop approach and experience should see him through the contest.
Prediction: Eubank late stoppage.
Campbell Hatton (1-0-0) vs TBA
After his debut on the Dillian Whyte undercard in Gibraltar, Campbell Hatton makes his second professional appearance.
Many were critical of Hatton’s maiden display. However, given the pressure that comes with the territory of being the son of Ricky and nephew of Matthew is unsurmountable to imagine. Yes, he looked scrappy, but he got the job done and can move on.
Campbell is a novice and has a lot to learn. However, at just 20 years of age, time is on his side, but I’m sure he can follow in the footsteps of Conor Benn, and progress in the right direction. Under Matchroom and AJ’s 258 Management’s guidance, he will certainly get the proper support and opportunities to develop correctly.
I'm sure Hatton will get a suitable opponent for Saturday that will allow him to get some rounds in the bank, and continue his learning as a professional. I predict he’ll look better than he did in his previous fight, and I look forward to seeing him kicking on from there.
Prediction: Hatton victory.
Scott Fitzgerald (14-0-0) vs TBA
Scott Fitzgerald makes his first appearance since his 2019 British title victory over Ted Cheeseman.
Fitzgerald's absence from the ring is due to problems withgambling, drugs, and alcohol in recent years, leading to a spell at Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance Clinic. Fitz was stripped of his British title and suspended by the BBBofC following an arrest and court case.
Thankfully Fitzgerald was cleared of all charges in court andhas been permitted to return to the ring. Fingers crossed that he is now in a better place and is back focussed on boxing because he is a terrific fighter, and there are great fights for him in the 154lbs division. There are rematches with Ted Cheeseman or Anthony Fowler. He could fight Kieran Conway or Joshua's charge Souleymane Cissokho. Failing that, he might fight the winner of Smith versus Williamson on Friday, or even Kieran Conway.
Prediction: Fitzgerald wins.