Eddie Hearn likes to portray himself as a sort of Santa Claus figure in the boxing world – gifting the people of the UK great fights. But while Santa just wants you to be good Eddie wants your hard-earned moolah via Sky Box Office. This weekend it’s worth it though. We get Anthony Joshua, Chris Eubank Jr, Kevin Mitchell, Tony Bellew and Luke Campbell – no world titles but a stockingful of decent fights.
Headlining the unseasonal ‘Bad Intentions’ bill at the O2 in London is Anthony Joshua (14-0, 14 KOs) and his foe Dillian Whyte (16-0, 13 KOs). AJ has been able strut along his path to boxing super stardom in a gentlemanly way up until this point but Whyte has trash-talked his way into this fight. Eddie’s prospect hasn’t risen to it yet but he certainly isn’t a fan of Whyte reminding everybody who won when they were amateurs.
Anthony Joshua v Dillian Whyte
As pros both men are unbeaten and both have vicious power; the Olympic champ has won all of his fights by KO, while his heavyweight rival has knocked out all of his last 12 opponents. Richard Towers, the heavyweight from Sheffield, has felt the power of both boxers in sparring and doesn’t expect the fight for the British title to go the distance. Hardly surprising.
There aren’t any shocks in Paddy’s prices either. The fight not going the distance is and AJ by KO is a puny . The amateur contest was way back in 2009 but it showed Whyte’s willingness to mix it and his ability to take a punch. The combination of the underdog’s power, desire and chat may just be enough to put Joshua off his game slightly, so take the 5/6 on the fight going more than 2.5 rounds.
Chris Eubank Jr v Gary O’Sullivan
It may be close to Christmas but there is no spirit of generosity between Eubank Jr and Gary O’Sullivan either. Spike hurled some schoolboy insults about Junior’s family on twitter and Eubank called O’Sullivan a keyboard warrior. Petty? Maybe, but with the Brit’s last 12 wins coming by stoppage and the Irishman’s last five it will be more than handbags when these two meet in the ring.
Eubank (20-1, 15 KOs) and O’Sullivan (22-1, 15 KOs) do share something in common though; the blotch on their records was put there by Billy Joe Saunders. While Eubank-Saunders was as tight as Ebenezer Scrooge, Spike was levels below the Olympian.
The Irishman hopes to emulate Steve Collins’ win over Eubank Sr but this time the Brit will have too much speed and class. O’Sullivan is a long shot but he won’t be running away like most of Junior’s previous opponents. That will work in Eubank’s favour and the late stoppage looks good at .
With plenty on the undercard we are going to have to rifle through the rest of Mr Hearn’s offering quicker than you open your presents on Christmas morning.
Kevin Mitchell v Ismael Barroso
Kevin Mitchell (39-3, 29 KOs) is a proper East End geezer and a ‘triffic’ fighter, but having suffered his third stoppage loss in May he has taken a lot of punishment for a 31 year old. His adversary this weekend, Ismael Barroso (18-0-2, 17 KOs), is a rangy, aggressive southpaw. Basically, Mitchell’s nightmare opponent.
The Venezuelan lightweight is a KO specialist but he is untested at this level, and he could be exposed by the local lad’s wicked counter-punching. Pick Paddy’s for the fight to be under 10.5 rounds, although I wouldn’t blame you for lumping on the Barroso KO win.
Tony Bellew v Mateusz Masternak
Vying to take home a European title and some world ranking points on Saturday night are Tony Bellew (25-2-1, 16 KOs) and Mateusz Masternak (36-3, 26 KOs). Since the Scouser moved up to cruiserweight he has delivered four KO victories and one decision win but he hasn’t looked spectacular against the journeymen he’s faced.
Masternak is typically Polish: methodical, tough and working abroad. The visiting fighter has world level experience but his one-paced boxing has cost him titles. Bellew isn’t too busy in the ring either but he has the skill to take the win on points at .
Luke Campbell v Yvan Mendy
Trickiest call at the O2 is the lightweight contest between Luke Campbell (12-0, 10 KOs) and Yvan Mendy (32-4-1, 16 KOs). Mendy is not well known but he’s never been stopped, he’s done plenty of 10 and 12 rounders, he’s ripped and, er, French boxers are generally tough.
Campbell will win – he is probably an even bigger talent than Joshua – but can he stop a French hardnut who’s gone 12 with current world champion Victor Postol? Paddy makes Campbell 5/6 to win by KO but our money should be going on the available for the decision victory.
Five fights for a tasty fivefold accumulator – enough to get your money back on Eddie’s pay per view boxing and have some left over for Christmas.