Fight night tips: Crolla v Burns and Eubank Jr v Yildirim
We make our pick for Saturday night's lightweight bout at Manchester arena, as well as the second fight of the super-middleweight World Boxing Super Series.
Anthony Crolla v Ricky Burns
This is a classic loser-leaves-town fight.
With Crolla and Burns both over 30 and coming off defeats in world title bouts, it’s hard to see either getting another chance at a belt if they’re beaten on Saturday night.
Crolla – fighting in his home town of Manchester for the sixth successive fight – was on the best run of his career before running into back-to-back losses against Jorge Linares.
The 30-year-old earned fantastic wins over Darleys Perez and Ismael Barroso to claim and then defend the WBA lightweight title, but was clearly overmatched against the classy Linares and did well to last all 12 rounds in their second meeting.
He’s never been the most skilful fighter in the division, but Crolla is one of the toughest, with just one stoppage defeat in his career.
There’s little chance of Burns, who’s never possessed much power, beating him inside the distance.
The Scot has held world titles at three different weights, but looks a fading force at the age of 34 and was comprehensively beaten by Julius Indongo last time out.
Burns is also coming down a division for this fight – a dangerous move at his age considering he was struggling to make the weight at the end of his last run at lightweight.
Like Crolla, Burns has always had a great chin, so this one will surely go to the judge’s scorecards, which should be in the Mancunian’s favour.
He’s more of an all-round fighter than Burns, who has always relied upon putting his opponents under relentless pressure but could struggle to do so at this age and weight.
Chris Eubank Jr v Avni Yildirim
This is Eubank Jr’s first fight of the World Boxing Super Series, which kicked off with Callum Smith’s win over Erik Skoglund last month.
The IBO super-middleweight champion is one of the favourites to win the entire tournament, and should have a relatively straightforward path to the semi-finals against Yildirim.
The Turkish 26-year-old is currently undefeated, but has fought no one close to Eubank’s calibre yet.
This should play out like the majority of the Englishman’s fights over the past few years.
He will look flashy against a far less skilful opponent, but his lack of power is still an obvious weakness and he won’t be able to get the rugged Yildirim out of there inside the distance.
Eubank went all 12 rounds with Arthur Abraham in his last fight and took 10 to beat Renold Quinlan – who had no real place in a world title fight – before that.