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Hidden gems?

27 May | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Hidden gems?

Boxing News’ Danny Flexen finds some intriguing tips for this Saturday’s big O2 show

THIS Saturday’s show at the O2 in London is a credit to promoters Matchroom and, for similar reasons, a real challenge for gamblers.

With seven intriguing (at least) bouts, most of them hard to call, the odds are far from attractive, although the action looks to be compelling.

Let me preface my following ‘tips’ by saying that I see these outcomes as real possibilities rather than likelihoods – they illustrate the best ways of extracting value out of a show that has ample for the consumer but little for the punter.

The first is for Kevin Johnson to last the 12-round distance against piping hot heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua, who is 4-1 to triumph on points. It’s easy to see why people believe Joshua, 12-0 with 12 knockouts and having yet to go beyond the third session, will steamroll anyone in his path. But Johnson marks a genuine step up in class, despite his recent record of just one win in his last five contests.

The man from Atlanta is used to facing the cream of big men and – as he has Tyson Fury, Dereck Chisora and rock-fisted Vital Klitschko among others – taking them the championship course.

It’s not just that the American has a good chin, but he allies that to crafty defensive skills and a level of ring generalship that enables him to spoil when he needs to and throw just enough to dissuade a referee from stepping in to ‘rescue’ him.

If Johnson makes it past that third round, who knows how Joshua will react; the natural response would be to pace himself, just in case he is destined to travel the full 12. Given there is a feeling that Joshua needs more ring-time, coasting to a wide decision may benefit everyone involved – safeguarding as it does Johnson’s reputation for durability.

The other suggestion appears less likely but not beyond the realms of possibility. Kell Brook of Sheffield is a big favourite to retain his IBF featherweight title against Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin and for understandable reasons.

Brook is bigger at the weight, powerful, on great form and more proven at world level. Some are calling this a mismatch, although it must be remembered that Gavin was Britain’s first – and is still the nation’s only – male world amateur champion and has the kind of technical skills one would expect from someone who has that honour.

Yes, he fell marginally short against the good but not great Leonard Bundu – who was himself later dominated by world-level Keith Thurman – but Gavin has since galvanised himself and appears fully focused for his biggest fight.

He is 6-1 to win overall but a whopping 10-1 to come through by decision and if the slick, fast-handed Gavin is to triumph, it’s extremely unlikely to come via stoppage. Brook should have his hand raised, but 10-1 on a talent like Gavin is hard to ignore.