In so many ways I cannot believe that it is actually here – the 4th March. In the 02, in London, one of the most eagerly anticipated contests that has ever been fought is about to launch itself through PPV into the living rooms of so many and will be important to so many too!
The undercard is, by itself worth the fee for watching.
Katie Taylor at lightweight returns with a fight against a lean and very mean looking Monic Gentili. Of course, Taylor is expected to win her latest professional scrap but the way she goes about it will determine what happens next for her.
Dave Allen is quickly back in the ring to take on David Howe and like Taylor, this will be expected to be a perfunctory win and the platform for what comes next.
Lee Selby, back from his disappointment across in the USA, is looking to shake off some ring rust by facing Andoni Gago. Selby has some anger to dispel due to his fight being off so I expect this to be a short night for him.
Another fighter shaking off some anger is Paulie Malignaggi. He had tonight in mind for a European title fight in the US only to be told that his opponent would not be ready – after all the paperwork had gone through. He will look to shake off that frustration against Sam Eggington for the WBC international title. Many believe that Eggington is an over achiever and in against a twice world champion will show if he has or he is the real deal. I expect a Malignaggi win over points but a strong showing from Eggington that might not settle the question.
Old versus young is also in play when the mini grudge match – only in comparison to the headline act – between new kid Ohara Davies and Derry Mathews who go toe to toe for the WBC silver super lightweight crown. This is a genuine unhappy pairing that needs to get down and dirty to sort it out. Davies is a real prospect and Mathews a real lion with incredible heart and a great skill set. Having lost to Luke Campbell this would get Mathews back in contention for some decent fights but Davies, though a little lazy at times has an equal skillset. It’s an intriguing fight but I think the elder Malignaggi and the younger Davies provide balance in the boxing universe tonight.
There is no balance in the main event. Tony Bellew and David Haye is the biggest grudge match of 2017. It’s the biggest domestic fight of 2017. I have talked elsewhere of my conflict being head says Haye, heart wants Bellew. Everyone says early on Haye, later on Bellew. I think it shall be over early – make of that what you will!
Also in the UK in Houghton – le – Spring super featherweight Thomas Patrick Ward faces journeyman Simas Volosinas and super lightweight Martin Ward also has a keep busy fight against Dmitriys Guthans; Ward double for me.
Also on Saturday and in Belfast we have 6 fights, in Doncaster we have 7 fights and in Chorley 3 fights and in Holborn, London 7 fights whilst in Walsall there are 9 fights.
Over in the USA at the Barclay Centre, New York we have WBA/WBC welterweight action between Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman. There are a lot of eyes on this one and I reckon Thurman might shade it but have a lot of time and respect for Garcia – less so his father.
Later in the week and on Friday the 10th March, in Belfast, super flyweight Jamie Conlan takes on Yader Cardoza for the WBC international title and we shall all be flying the flag for Conlan. Added to the bill is bantamweight Kevin Satchell though there was no opponent.
On the same evening and in Bristol City we have 10 fights.
Saturday 11th March
Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh – Scottish light heavyweight title action between Brian Forsyth and Rhys Pagan; light heavyweight Tommy Philbin; welterweight Lewis Benson; cruiserweight Rutu Latianara; super lightweight Thomas Dickson; super featherweight Stephen Tiffney; super lightweight Steven Beattie; and the debuts of Iain Trotter and Monty Ogilvie
Nottingham – 11 fights, York hall 16 fights; Newcastle – 8 fights; Preston – 6 fights; Southampton – 3 fights.
Friday 17th March
York Hall – 8 fights; Manchester – return of lightweight Joe Murray and in Brentwood 13 fights.