Tyson Fury went from the butt of boxing jokes to the king of the world last weekend and the new heavyweight champion’s success should mean a higher profile for his British colleagues.
Fortunately boxing fans won’t have to wait long for some of the country’s best to step into the ring, with a number of Britain’s top names set to fight in December.
Here’s a quick round-up of who’s on the bill during the festive period and how they are expected to perform.
Roy Jones Jr v Enzo Maccarinelli
Many boxing fans believe Maccarinelli’s career was dealt a fatal blow when he was sparked out in the second round by David Haye back in 2008. A further five losses since that night at the O2 Arena have done little to inspire belief and a 10- rounder against a 46-year-old Jones Jr is unlikely to boost his credentials win, lose or draw.
The recently-naturalised Russian has won his last eight bouts but the lack of noteworthy scalps means question marks remain. Jones Jr is the marginal favourite at 4/6 but this one is for fans of boxing nostalgia.
Tony Bellew v Mateusz Masternak
Since losing at heavyweight to Adonis Stevenson the Bomber has put in some solid displays at cruiserweight – most notably when beating Nathan Cleverley, and will fight Poland’s Masternak for the EBU title at the O2.
The Pole has held the strap before but after losing three of his last nine bouts, is not expected to give Bellew – the 1/5 favourite – too much trouble.
Chris Eubank Jr v Gary O’Sullivan
Given his surname, Eubank Jr (1/6) is perhaps getting a little more credit than he deserves but he does carry his namesake’s air of confidence when in the ring. The 26-year-old was unlucky to lose on a decision for Billy Joe Saunders’ European, Commonwealth and British middleweight titles last year but has bounced back in style with two stoppages since.
O’Sullivan (4/1), whose only defeat also came against Saunders, is adamant that but for his name his opponent would still be fighting in village sports halls and has vowed to knock Eubank Jr out on the night. There is genuine animosity between these two and a shot at the WBA belt up for grabs so expect sparks to fly.
Kevin Mitchell v Ismael Barroso
The Hammer (4/11) is looking to bounce back after seeing his WBC title dreams shattered by Jorge Linares last time out.
His Colombian opponent (11/5) is expected to give the Dagenham Destroyer a good workout but nothing more.
Anthony Joshua v Dillian Whyte
Perhaps the most hotly anticipated of December’s fights. It seems as though AJ (1/14) and White (7/1) have a genuine hatred of each other. Boxing purists believe the latter has used his amateur victory over the Olympic gold medallist to drum up interest in the fight but both are unbeaten as pros and that loss could give the underdog a psychological edge here.
Anyone who has seen the ferocious Joshua up close though will be expecting nothing less than knockout number 15, a result Ladbrokes has priced up at 1/7.
Liam Smith v Jimmy Kilrain Kelly
A quarter of the famous Smith clan puts his WBO Light Middleweight title on the line in Manchester against Jimmy Kelly. After taking the title from American John Thompson in impressive fashion in October Beefy is looking to round-out the year with a routine win and at 1/7 is expected to deliver just that.
Andy Lee v Billy Joe Saunders
While Smith undertakes a voluntary defence of his newly acquired title, Andy Lee will put his WBO Middleweight strap on the line in a tasty Britain v Ireland bout with Billy Joe Saunders. Lee took the title from Matt Korobov in Las Vegas in December last year and saw his first defence downgraded after Peter Quillin failed to make the weight. The undefeated Saunders will test the Irishman all the way and the bookies cant split the two with odds of 10/11 available on either man.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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