Tips for Selby v Burns, Chisora v Price and Prograis v Taylor
This Saturday sees one the of the best boxing cards of the year land at the O2 Arena in London. The main event is electric; Josh Taylor, one of Britain’s most talented boxers, goes up against the number 1 boxer in the light welterweight division in Regis Prograis. Below that, Price has stepped in to fight Derek Chisora in a fascinating domestic heavyweight dust up. Ricky Burns and Lee Selby also feature on the undercard in a hard to call lightweight fight. All that means a feast of punting to be had and a bucket load of winnings to be won.
Selby against Burns is a fight that’s been somewhat overlooked by some boxing fans. They’re both talented vets who’ve held world titles and are out for one more roll of the dice. The winner will get another big fight, the loser is looking down the barrel – expect both fighters to leave it all on the line. A glance at their records suggests this fight is a banker to go the distance: neither fighter has been stopped and both fighters are far from power punchers. Selby’s stoppage percentage is a meagre 33% (9 stoppages in 27 wins) and Burns registers an only slightly better 37% stoppage rate (16 stoppages from 43 wins). Both have tasted defeat but neither have been stopped and have demonstrated decent durability – Burns has gone 12 with Terence Crawford and Selby has taken punishment in fights but never been stopped. The fight to go the distance is priced at 1/6 so another angle needs to be found. Selby is the bookies favourite and Burns certainly has more miles on the clock and is, of the two, the one who’s nearer winding down his career. The step up to lightweight from featherweight looks a good move by Selby and in terms of styles, Selby has struggled most against very aggressive, come forward fighters. Whilst Burns will keep coming and has a great engine, he’s not the sort of aggressive pressure fighter like Warrington, who handed Selby his most recent defeat. Selby to win a decision is best price 10/11. If a longer price is wanted, Selby by split decision is 13/2 and majority decision is 14/1. The draw at 20s is also tempting.
As the chief support to the main event, Dereck Chisora (who was due to fight Joseph Parker before the Kiwi’s unfortunate run in with poisonous spider) takes on David Price. Both fighters are coming off decent wins and have found a bit of form of late. Dereck Chisora scored an impressive stoppage of Artur Szpilka in his last fight and has only lost to Dillian Whyte in his last 4 fights. Price on the other hand put on an absolute boxing clinic against David Allen last time out. The Allen fight should be the template for how Price approaches Chisora, using his reach and height to dominate exchanges and not being afraid to throw hooks and uppercuts when his opponent comes in close. At 20/1, it’s tempting to back Price to box in the same way and cause the upset, winning a unanimous decision. However, Chisora is a totally different prospect to Allen. He’s much more aggressive, a bigger puncher and far cuter and more experienced. He’ll be better at countering Price and will close the range more effectively. Whilst a punt on Price to win a decision is tempting, Chisora to close the show in the second half of the fight looks more likely, especially considering Price has taken this fight at short notice and probably hasn’t had the perfect prep. Chisora rounds 7-12 is 5/2 and should not be sniffed at.
And finally, the main event and a humdinger between the number 1 and 2 ranked light welterweights on the planet. Josh Taylor’s last 3 opponents had a combined record of 70/1 and he’s done away with them comfortably. What he’s achieved in 15 fights is quite remarkable and he deserves to fight at the top of this bill against an equally talented fighter in Regis Prograis. Prograis is also undefeated (24-0) and has also dispensed with top class talent in his recent fights. There has been a suggestion that Prograis has the advantage in the power stakes, although their stoppage percentages are very similar (80% for Taylor and 83% for Prograis). However, it does seem that Prograis has the more destructive power, demonstrated by some brutal stoppages in the past. Whilst both men are southpaws, they have very different styles; Prograis likes to walk in, his footwork is simple and he relies on a lot of feints and upper body movement to draw his opponent in and counter with power shots. He’s very strong and is particularly dangerous counter punching to the body when his opponents come into range with their own shots. Josh Taylor is markedly different, he often boxes up on his toes, using excellent footwork to move around the ring and box at range. Taylor can and does fight in close as well but in this fight if he allows Prograis to draw him in it could be his undoing. If instead Taylor uses his footwork to keep the distance and is busy with his jab, he can slowly pick apart Prograis and win a decision. A Taylor decision is best price 12/5 with Sporting Bet. If Taylor pulls it off, as this tipster backs him to, then he surely becomes the number pound for pound boxer in the UK and more big nights at the top of the bill await.