You can never accuse boxing of being predictable, there are more plot twists than an episode of EastEnders. Who would have guessed a year ago that after just 13 fights Fedor Chudinov would be super middleweight world champion and defending his title in London against local lad Frank Buglioni? Or that Lancashire’s Mark Thompson could get a shot at Penge welterweight Bradley Skeete’s European title? And that American heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder would make a fight with flabby, French no-hoper, Johann Duhaupas. Wait, that last one is entirely predictable.
Fedor Chudinov v Frank Buglioni
Chudinov (the name rings a bell?) is the younger brother of Dmitry, a man most famous for his 12 round tear-up with Chris Eubank Jr in February. Dmitry was stopped that night with less than a minute to go but there was no stopping Fedor (13-0, 10 KOs) in May when he went to Felix Sturm’s home patch in Germany and took the title from the old hand via the judges’ scorecards.
With only slightly more professional experience, Buglioni (17-1-1, 13 KOs) has an unlikely chance of snatching the world title in just his 20th contest. The likeable Londoner is intelligent, diligent and determined, but spending extra hours in the gym and employing a sports psychologist won’t rectify his suspect chin.
Some put the challenger’s defeat last year and draw a few months ago down to learning but really they showed Buglioni’s true level. And that isn’t world level. Frank the ‘Wise Guy’ knows he isn’t at his best boxing on the back foot but if he thinks it’s a good idea to go on the front foot he will get into a war with the dangerous champion.
Either way, Chudinov will pump out right hook after left hook after right hook, like a couple of arced pistons. The fight is likely to be stopped in favour of the Russian, so it is worth putting that 4/9 bet in your boxing acca this weekend. If Buglioni somehow survives the Russian bombardment he stands a reasonable chance of winning on points, which is a hefty 8/1.
Bradley Skeete v Mark Thompson
Supporting the main action at the Wembley Arena are Skeete (20-1, 9 KOs) and Thompson (27-4, 15 KOs), who are both trying to get back to where they believe they belong. Thompson challenged for the super welterweight British title in 2013 but was stopped in the fourth round by Liam Smith. While Skeete was approaching world level when he dropped a close decision to Frankie Gavin last year.
At 27 years of age Skeete is seven years Thompson’s junior and fresh in comparison. The Northerner is also taking the unusual step of moving down a weight division to make this fight happen, and if the signs weren’t ominous enough already he has only had three fights in the last two and a half years. You can see why Skeete is the 1/10 favourite.
Skeete claims that anybody who criticises his power doesn’t know what they are they are talking about and he has won by KO in five of his last six fights to back that up. Thompson has lost four times in his career, three times by stoppage. You may be tempted into believing this one will end early but the 4/5 for Skeete to win on points is the value bet in this 10 rounder.
Deontay Wilder v Johann Duhaupas
While boxing is flying in Britain and Ireland, and Tyson Fury’s Batman antics even got people talking about the heavyweight division before Wladimir Klitschko pulled the plug, Stateside Deontay Wilder (34-0, 33 KOs) is doing his best to ensure that no one is getting too excited by choosing to fight 40/1 underdog Duhaupas (32-2, 20 KOs).
The Frenchman lost to fellow European lackey Erkan Teper in March but managed to edge a decision over Manuel Charr in April, which was apparently enough to warrant a world title shot. You could call Duhaupas ‘conventional’ or ‘solid’ but he’s probably better described as a 6’5” jam roll – stodgy and less than you deserve at the end of an evening.
Wilder has only ever been involved in one remotely challenging bout, when he won the world title from Bermane Stiverne fairly impressively on points. That fight took place at the very beginning of this year and since then Wilder has won once with a ninth round KO against American stooge Eric Molina. Every other fight Wilder has won within four rounds against bottom-feeder opponents.
The fact that Wilder is world champion but still virtually untested says all that needs to be said about the state of heavyweight boxing. Wilder will look to throw haymakers if Duhaupas shows any sign of weakness and the knockout will surely come at some point. Settle for adding the safe bet on the fight not going the distance at 2/7 to your acca.
Chudinov – age 28, height 5’9.5”, reach 72”, KO ratio 77%. Last fight: (W) vs Felix Sturm (Split decision).
Super middleweight world champion despite only 13 pro fights. Chudinov won by KO in four fights prior to the Sturm world title fight.
Buglioni – age 26, height 6’1”, reach N/A, KO ratio 68%. Last fight: (W) vs Fernando Castaneda (5th round KO).
Only won five of last seven, although four of those wins came by KO. First defeat came last year via a stoppage. Scraped a draw in May to the unheralded Brit Lee Markham.
Skeete – age 27, height 6’1”, reach N/A, KO ratio 43%. Last fight: (W) vs Brunet Zamora (6th round retirement).
The reigning European champion with only defeat one coming against Frankie Gavin last year. Last five wins have all come by way of knockout
Thompson – age 34, height 5’11”, reach N/A, KO ratio 48%. Last fight: (W) vs William Warburton (Points).
Lost three of last six, two of the defeats were by TKO. Only had three fights in the last two and a half years.
Wilder – age 29, height 6’7”, reach 83”, KO ratio 97%. Last fight: (W) vs Eric Molina (9th round KO).
Unbeaten WBC heavyweight world champion. Won the world title on points from Bermane Stiverne in January. Knocked out every opponent except Stiverne.
Duhaupas – age 34, height 6’5”, reach N/A, KO ratio 59%. Last fight: (W) vs Manuel Charr (Mixed decision).
Won despite being the underdog to former world title challenger Manuel Charr in last fight. Lost fight before to Erkan Teper but previously held the European belt.