Fight Night Tips: Best bets for Brook v Rabchenko
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Kell Brook v Sergey Rabchenko
This is Brook’s first fight since he lost the IBF world welterweight title to Errol Spence at Bramall Lane last May.
That 11th-round stoppage was the 31-year-old’s second successive defeat – and just the second of his professional career – and he really needs to respond with an impressive performance on Saturday.
Rabchenko is a potentially dangerous opponent, with a professional record of 27 wins, 20 by knockout, and two defeats.
The Belarusian was stopped in the ninth round of his last fight, though – an IBF light middleweight title eliminator against Tony Harrison – and also lost to Anthony Mundine, who’s arguably his second-best opponent to date, in 2014.
Brook has admitted that he struggled to make the welterweight limit for the Spence fight, and the Englishman should benefit from this step up to super-welterweight.
He’s an excellent technical boxer and was always a big puncher at 147lbs with 25 KOs, and if he still has the same power in this new weight class he shouldn’t have much trouble putting away Rabchenko.
The 32-year-old is a flawed fighter defensively, and his last fight proved that he can be stopped. It’s likely that Brook will land enough shots to force the stoppage comfortably inside the distance.
Two of Brook’s last seven wins have come between rounds seven and nine, and that range seems about right for this bout.
Gamal Yafai v Gavin McDonnell
This should be a really good fight between Yafai – the brother of WBA super-flyweight champion Kal Yafai – and former world title contender McDonnell.
Yafai is undefeated in his professional career, but the 26-year-old is inexperienced, having fought just 14 times.
He faces a tough test against McDonnell, whose only career loss was a majority decision against unbeaten world champion Rey Vargas in February 2017.
The 31-year-old proved in the late rounds against the Mexican that his rugged style can cause problems against skilful fighters, and if he pushes forwards for all 12 rounds he might have too much for Yafai to handle.
In what looks like a 50-50 fight, it’s worth backing McDonnell to use his superior experience and cause a minor upset.
Lenroy Thomas v David Allen
This rematch of a split decision win for Thomas in May could be Allen’s last chance to fight on a major pay-per-view card.
‘The White Rhino’ is a fan favourite and showed real guts to fight Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz in the past, but he was awful in the first fight between these two in Sheffield, plodding forwards and barely throwing any punches.
Thomas isn’t a great fighter. The Jamaican boxed well on the outside last time but really benefitted from Allen’s inactivity in the ring.
The Doncaster fighter’s got an incredible chin and some power, but he needs to rough up Thomas more on Saturday night.
Allen looks to be in much better shape now, though, and knows what it’s going to take to win the Commonwealth title.
In what will be a messy contest, a decision win for the Englishman looks a decent bet.