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If there was one date that headlined the run up to Christmas for boxing fans it was always going to be Saturday, the 10th of December. Tonight, on Sky pay per view one of the biggest and most stacked cards of 2016 hits our screens and it is filled with intrigue, stories and talking points BEFORE the action starts.
This week we have seen furniture thrown, British titles withdrawn and threats made between Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora. No matter what happens here Whyte remains the British champion but we are all waiting for this with baited breath. I reckon Chisora takes it either by late stoppage or points but it is one of the most talked about fights for ages.
We then have the weigh in drama of losing your title on the scales through the Luis Concepcion v Kal Yafai for the WBA super-flyweight title. Concepcion could not shed the 2 lbs he needed to make weight and will no longer be the world champion. Should Yafai win, that shall be his crown. It is a REALLY tough task for Yafai and I reckon he takes it but it may well not go his way tonight; make no mistake Concepcion not making weight is absolutely no indication of how this fight shall go.
We also have another grudge match that got a bit heated at the press conference between former world titlist Frank Buglioni and Hosea Burton for the British light-heavyweight belt. This is a tough one to call for some but for me, Burton has enough to take it.
Domestically, before he fights for world honours, Callum Smith has a tricky defence of his British super-middleweight belt against Luke Blackledge. Whilst I think it is a typical early stoppage for Smith he might want to get some rounds in before he faces the winner of DeGale/Jack.
We also have – told you it was packed – mouth-watering fights which sees the welcome return of Scott Quigg up against Jose Cayetano for the WBA international featherweight crown. Quigg will be carefully watched to see if his broken jaw has healed psychologically as well as physically and this could be a very interesting fight for us boxing geeks; I think he takes it on points. Luis Ortiz faces a real heavyweight and fat kid who says he will be on top of him in Dave Allen. This goes the distance for me and Ortiz will win; Allen will make a very good account of himself and in 2017 get some very decent fights. Welterweight Connor Benn is in against Steven Backhouse and will take his next step in his career as his father respectfully supports from a distance.
The headliners – and make no mistake, I think there are 2 – come in the shape of 2 boxers who I believe are superstars in the making. Neither are quite there yet but the 10th December shall undoubtedly be, for me, a significant date in their journeys. Both, I think, shall give us early knockouts or stoppages and they are Anthony Joshua v Eric Molina for the IBF heavyweight title and Katie Taylor returning to action against Viviane Obenauf at lightweight. Joshua is reigning supreme and will announce his next level tonight whilst Taylor will state her case for world honours in 2017. Apart they are two of the most explosive in world boxing but together on the same bill they are worth the entrance money, popcorn, over priced drinks and a night out clubbing together alone.
As Joshua defends his title in Manchester, in Auckland, New Zealand Joseph Parker takes on a rather pudgy looking Andy Ruiz Jr for the vacant WBO heavyweight belt. Parker shall take it and become the latest figure in the mix. I think after this it may be Let’s Go Champ time for him as the lesser world titlists get a chance to push the popularity of the world titles before we get mega fights in 2017 to bring all the disparate bodies together.
In Los Angeles, Jermall Charlo takes on Julian Williams for the IBF light-middleweight title whilst Jesus Cuellar faces Abner Mares for the WBA featherweight belt. Not a lot between them all, and I reckon points wins for Charlo and Cuellar. I have an inkling though that something explosive may happen. If it isn’t going down in Los Angeles then in Omaha, Terrence Crawford takes his next step in staking his claim to be the best pound for pound fighter on the planet happens when he takes on John Molina Jr for the WBC/WBO light-welterweight crowns. Crawford is supreme and I expect him to make light work of this evening’s fight.
In Wigan, we have 5 fights, in Portsmouth 9 fights, in Hull 5 fights and in Tewkesbury 3 fights.
Sunday the 11th December
There is a Lock Stock Promotions Bill in Glasgow whilst in Liverpool there are 4 fights.
Thursday 15th December
5 fights at Derby County
Friday 16th December
11 fights in Barnsley
With the lack of action coming our way… it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
Saturday 17th December
We have in Carshalton we have super lightweight Lenny Daws taking on Anthony Yigit for the title that should be his any=way the EBU European crown. In Bristol, we have an English title fight at super lightweight between Joe Hughes and Andrew Keates. In Newcastle, there are 8 fights.
Sunday the 18th December
In Glasgow Sam Kynoch of MGM Scotland brings us cruiserweight Ranu Latianara, super featherweight Stephen Tiffney, lightweight Jordan McCorry, super welterweight Marc Kerr, super lightweight Steven Beattie and the debut of Jay McFarlane.
In Manchester, we have 1 fight.
In Ekaterinburg, Russia, Alexander Povetkin faces Bermane Stiverne for the WBC interim heavyweight and in Inglewood, California, USA, Bernard Hopkins has his final fight against Joe Smith Jr. at light-heavyweight whilst Oleksandr Usyk takes on Thabiso Mchunu for the WBO cruiserweight title.