This is a great unification fight between two of the best welterweights in the world. Errol Spence is a fighter who can both draw big crowds and really fight which is a rarity in boxing. After being involved in a car crash his career has slowed down a bit and he’s been very inactive recently but will be looking to charge forward with a big win over Yordenis Ugas this Saturday.
Yordenis Ugas was a good Cuban amateur who after some early setbacks in his pro career has built himself a lot of momentum and also beaten a host of good fighters on his run towards the top. He picked up his best win in his last fight versus Manny Pacquiao and could top even that great victory with a win over the undefeated Errol Spence.
Spence is a good boxer who throws a huge amount of volume and historically has been able to keep that up all fight. Whether he can do that with his long lay off is yet to be seen however I personally don’t believe he’ll have many ill effects from his lay off as he’s been training throughout his time out the ring. Ugas is a technical boxer who uses his good defence to counter his opponents and out-box them. He can fight aggressively but seems to be at his best picking his opponents off and timing them with well placed jabs and right hands.
I think Ugas can make this fight awkward but I personally see Spence’s volume overwhelming Ugas especially late in the fight which should be enough for Spence to win an 8-4 or 9-3 type of fight. If Spence is hesitant with his time out of the ring I could see Ugas winning a close decision by picking Spence off when he punches but otherwise I think Ugas will struggle with just how much Spence throws.
Conor Benn is one of the rising stars in British boxing and spearheads the new generation of stadium headliners which will replace the old guard who are starting to fade out. This is an important fight for Benn as any loss at this stage of his career would set back his dreams of being a world champion and being a future star.
Chris van Heerden has been a fringe world level contender in the Welterweight division for the better part of a decade. He hasn’t beaten any elite welterweights but has a decent resume which includes wins over Matthew Hatton, Steve Claggett as well as fights against Errol Spence Jr and Jaron Ennis. Heerden is a decent southpaw with respectable technical skill but doesn’t have a huge amount of speed or snap on his punches.
I think Conor Benn has improved massively in the last year and a half especially when you consider his early days of being dropped by Cedrick Peynaud. I think Benn’s timing and power will likely be too much for Heerden who hasn’t fought for over a year and is coming towards the conclusion of his time inside the squared circle. It wouldn’t surprise me if Benn caught Heerden early on and then overwhelmed him due to a mixture of Benn being very good offensively and Heerden being rusty early on.
I don’t mind this type of fight for Conor Benn but his next fight has to be some sort of big fight or preferably a fight versus David Avanesyan who currently holds the European welterweight title. I do think Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn has made it clear they arn’t interested in the Avanesyan fight as it’s too much of a risk and I would presume he doesn’t want Avanesyan to stop Benn like he did Josh Kelly.
Conor Benn to stop Chris van Heerden in six to eight rounds though an early finish wouldn’t be surprising.
This is an evenly matched fight between two featherweights who are effectively competing for who is the third or 4th best featherweight in the world. Leigh Wood fought at below European level for the vast majority of his career but put on a great performance in his last fight to dethrone Can Xu of his WBA world title. Michael Conlan has been a decent name in the pro’s after he made headlines in the amateurs due to losing a highly controversial decision in the 2016 Olympics games. After the loss he stuck his middle fingers up and said boxing is dirty and that was enough to earn him a contract with Top Rank who have moved him fairly conservatively so far.
Leigh Wood isn’t as technically good as Conlan but has respectable power and can fight to a gameplan if needed. I do think Can Xu looked slow and rusty so while it was still a good performance I don’t think it suddenly means Leigh Wood has transformed into the best fighter in the division. Conlan has taken a while to adapt to the pro’s but I think in his more recent fights hes looked better and better.
I think stylistically Conlan can make Leigh Wood look very basic as after Conlan makes Wood miss and pay then Wood will hesitate to let his hands go. Leigh Wood also never really adjusted in his last fight and he’ll have to do that in this fight to win.
I think Michael Conlan should be able to box his way to a victory by decision after twelve rounds. Wood will have his moments but its hard too see him out-boxing Conlan or making the adjustments needed to break Conlan down and stop him late in the fight. An early knockout for Wood isn’t out of the question but it’s an unlikely option.
I’m looking forward to this fight a lot as I can’t see it being anything other than exciting. Roman Gonzalez has been at the top of the sport for more than a decade now and this win would further cement his already tremendous resume. Julio Cesar Martinez is a buzz saw who rarely shows any respect for his opponents who he clearly sees as mere twigs before his blades.
I expect that the fight will be competitive early on and Martinez may even have an advantage but as the fight goes on I expect Gonzalez’s experience to pull through along with his great combinations. He’s been in twelve round wars before and is excellent at keeping up the pace and his punch out-put. Martinez also came in overweight for this fight which could be a purposeful tactic or him simply being unprofessional.
After eight or nine rounds Martinez will start to wilt due to the sustained out-put of Gonzalez who will either win a clear 9-3 to 8-4 decision or potentially earn himself a late stoppage.
This is a decent fight between two time gold medalist Ramirez and fringe European level Donovan. The latter’s career has been fairly unremarkable apart from his excellent performance versus Zelfa Barrett where up until he got caught he was out-boxing him with ease. It’s a shame we haven’t seen him back in a big fight since and I do wonder if at 36 he may be to old to properly take advantage of his obvious boxing skill. Robeisy Ramirez had a shaky start to his pro career but has improved a lot and adapted well to the pro style in recent fights.
I think Robeisy Ramirez will likely win a decision after ten rounds due to his high level of boxing ability and him having Ismael Salas in his corner. Salas is one of the best coaches in the world and will have developed a good gameplan for this fight.
Josh Taylor makes the first defence of his undisputed Super Lightweight world title today in Scotland. Taylor is a great southpaw who can fight comfortably on the inside or look for counters versus overreaching opponents on the outside.
Jack Catterall is a respectable fighter but won’t offer anything that Taylor hasn’t seen before. He’s been waiting on his title shot for a long time now and in the mean time has fought less than stellar competition which isn’t good preparation for fighting someone as good as Taylor.
Taylor looks very motivated for this fight and seems to be taking it seriously so it’s hard too see him losing. I expect him to be patient early on before catching Catterall in round 4 or 5 which will swing the fight firmly in his favour. After the turning point he’ll fight Catterall on the inside and wear him down til he wins by TKO in the 10th or 11th round.
Frazer Clarke, a well accomplished amateur who won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, is making his professional debut. This doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary until you look into who Clarke is fighting and then wonder how this bout got sanctioned.
Jake Darnell has never boxed in a professional ring and his only experience appears to be a few white collar and bareknuckle matches. To add to this farce he hasn’t even had much success in those scenes but is apparently a reasonable opponent for an Olympians debut. I don’t put any of the blame on Frazer Clarke as he doesn’t choose his opponents and will just want to make his debut and progress with his career. The people I do put the blame on are Boxxer his promoter and more importantly the British board of control for sanctioning the fight. If Boxxer can’t find a semi-respectable opponent then they should just reschedule the fight instead of putting on a dangerous mismatch. The British board of control like to harp on about how much they care about fighter safety and will often not allow fighters to fight due to health concerns but for some reason have no problem with this fight. In this match up we have a fit healthy Olympian who’s had over a 100 amateur fights versus an out of shape, inexperienced fighter who’s only had a few white collar and bare knuckle fights where he’s had very limited success. The British board of control clearly think this is a fight that is good enough to be sanctioned and if so they should be ashamed of themselves. This is a dangerous fight that will end in a first round KO for Frazer Clarke, the out-come is in no doubt so much so that the bookies have suspended round betting on the bout as everyone knows Frazer Clarke wins in the first round.
I think if the British board of control actually care about fighters health and not just helping out promoters then they shouldn’t have sanctioned this farce of a fight. The reality is that the British board of control are a bunch of out of touch old men who are slowly running British boxing into the ground and taking away any credibility that British boxing has. Unfair decisions happen on a weekly basis, blatant dangerous mismatches are approved and nothing has ever been done about the current journeyman system where dozen’s of fighters are paid to turn up and lose without putting too much effort in to win. They could attempt to adapt to the Japanese system where boxer’s have to fight people on their skill level even early on and this would reduce the lopsided losing records and also mean we stop getting fighters with 16 wins, zero knockouts who can’t perform past area level but have an inflated record due to feasting on fighters who are 9-116.
None of this will happen though and this mismatch will be swept under the rug and put down as the promotion struggling to find opponents even though that is an even more embarrassing excuse. They’ve had eight weeks to make a fight for Clarke and this is the best they could come up with, both Boxxer and the British board of control should be ashamed.
WBO Featherweight world champion Emanuel Navarrete will make the third defence of his title versus the unbeaten Abraham Nova at some point in April. Nova has come into the WBO rankings in February after not being ranked before hand and not only that but hes all the way at number 2 despite never making the featherweight limit. Clearly Top Rank has told the WBO to rank him so that the fight can happen, this happens a lot in boxing and shows how weak the sanctioning bodies actually are.
While the fight hasn’t been announced and may not even be signed I am very confident of it happening as clearly it’s Top Ranks plan. Emanuel Navarrete gets to make a title defence and Top Rank deliver a title shot to another one of their fighters who is also Puerto Rican which is one of their biggest markets.
This is a great fight between a tested veteran and a prospect who is seen as the next big thing at the lower weights. Carlos Cuadras has been in huge fights against names such as Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada. He’s probably on the decline at this stage of his career but he is the bigger man in this match up and Franco was scheduled to fight someone else only a few weeks ago. Jesse Rodriguez Franco is untested at world level but has taken apart well known gate keepers within a few rounds and has looked the part of a future world champion.
I think as long as Franco can deal with Cuadras’s power he should be able to out-box and pick him apart as Cuadras has slowed down a bit and Franco seems to be ready for world level in my opinion. I think this fight is a perfect example of a passing of the guard. I think Jesse Rodriguez Franco will win decision after twelve rounds though if he catches Cuadras early and stops him I wouldn’t be surprised
Pavel Silyagin will face the tough test man Nizar Trimech later today in Russia in what should be a stay busy fight for him. Silyagin is one of the most promising prospects in the super middleweight division and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t punch his way to a world title shot within the next few years. He has great fundamentals and a nice jab though can sometimes be accused of settling into one rhythm for a fight. He looks awkward in the ring but clearly his style and positioning works very well as he’s beaten every opponent hes faced as a pro so far without any major problems.
Nizar Trimech is a solid fighter who has come out of nowhere in recent years and given good fights to notable fighters such as Kamil Szeremeta and Ronny Landaeta. He shouldn’t be on the level of Silyagin and while he’ll give his best effort I think he’ll struggle to have much impact in the fight.
Silyagin will push Trimech back with his jab and out-box him throughout the fight. Silyagin could get a stoppage but I think it’s more likely that Trimech makes the full distance as hes tough and Silyagin might want to get some rounds in to start the year.