Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Boxing Bonanza at the O2 Arena in London Saturday Night

By Peter Silkov

On Saturday, London will host a boxing bonanza at London’s O2 ARENA. Top of the bill is the heavyweight clash between Anthony Joshua (14-0) and Dillian Whyte (16-0) for the British, Commonwealth, and WBC International Heavyweight titles. Both men are unbeaten, and this fight contains some personal history, as the two men fought twice back in their amateur days, with Whyte winning both. There seems to be plenty of needle between the two heavyweights, and this is a genuinely intriguing heavyweight showdown.  Beyond the hype, when both men are compared against each other, there looks to be only one winner, and that is Anthony Joshua. In a career that has yet to see him have to go past the 3rd round, Joshua still has a long way to go and many questions to answer, but there is little doubt that he is a world class fighter with considerable punching power.

Whyte on the other hand, while being a good fighter, has the look of being a level below that of Joshua. Everyone knows that anything can happen in heavyweight boxing, it only takes one mistake and one punch, when the fighters are so big. This is certainly Joshua’s most dangerous opponent yet, and it will be interesting to see what might happen if Whyte connects with a solid punch to Joshua’s rather untested chin.  Barring any mishaps, Joshua should ease his way past Whyte, with a knockout win in the first 5 rounds.

Also on the bill Saturday night is the WBA world middleweight championship eliminator between Chris Eubank Jr (20-1) and Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan (22-1).  This is another grudge fight, with both men seeming to truly dislike each other. The ironic thing about this fight, as in the Joshua vs. Whyte fight, is that it doesn’t need a feud and a build up of animosity to make this match up interesting.  Both Eubank Jr. and O’ Sullivan have the kind of extrovert personalities and fighting styles that could make this clash one of the most entertaining fights of the year.  Again, it is a question of levels. Eubank Jr. seems to have the superior skills, and during his most recent contests, he has shown some breathtaking skills.  Eubank’s Achilles heel seems to be his lack of experience and a complex personality. While coming across as supremely confident, Eubank Jr. seemed to freeze for the first 5 rounds of his fight with Billy Joe Saunders, before ‘waking up’ in the 6th round, and taking over the fight to such an extent that many thought him unlucky not to get the decision against Saunders.  Eubank Jr. has come back with two wins since his only career defeat, and positive changes seem to have been made in his corner since the Saunders’ fight, most notably his Father’s role in the corner during a contest.  Against Dmitry Chudinov in February, Eubank Jr. was especially impressive, showing a mix of sublime boxing skill and vicious offense. There was also that impressive hand speed. On the minus side, Eubank Jr. also showed a tendency to a porous defence, and gives the impression of taking his opponents too lightly at times. Yet, there is no doubt that Eubank Jr. has the raw talent that could one day find him emulating his father and winning a world title, if he is guided properly and learns how to put it all together in the ring. So far, we have flashes of what might be in Eubank Jr.

Photo: Irish Post
The most intriguing thing about his match with O’Sullivan is that, this is the type of fight when we could see Eubank Jr. put everything together for the first time in the ring, and really show the kind of fighter that he can become. O’ Sullivan is a talented fighter in his own right, but does not have the depth of talent that Eubank Jr. has shown. Also, O’Sullivan’s aggressive style is suited to Eubank Jr.’s counter-punching skills. The biggest danger for Eubank Jr. in this contest is that he becomes too confident and allows himself to be drawn into a toe-to-toe encounter, rather than using his boxing skills to pick apart O’Sullivan. This could be a fiery contest with some good toe-to-toe action, but it will be Eubank Jr’s extra speed and boxing skills, which will be the difference. These should take him to a point’s victory over Sullivan, after a clash that may well be the fight of the night.

Photo: WBAnews
Kevin Mitchell (39-3) takes on Ismael Barroso (18-0-2) for the Interim WBA World Lightweight championship. Britains are having a golden time at 135 pounds at the moment and a win in this fight will put Mitchell in the mix for a string of big domestic showdowns against the likes of Terry Falagan, Luke Campbell, Anthony Crolla, Derry Mathews, and Ricky Burns.  This is a fight where Mitchell cannot afford any slip-ups. In his last contest seven months ago, Mitchell lost in a WBC world lightweight title challenge to Jorge Linares, after a brave performance that had seen him take an early lead, before Linares caught up with him and stopped him in the 10th round.  Barroso is an unknown quantity from Venezuela, who is unbeaten in a career that goes back to 2005. His 17 knockout wins indicate that he is the kind of fighter that Mitchell does not want to underestimate. Mitchell should have the skills and experience to handle Barroso, and put himself in line for another world title shot.

Tony Bellew (25-2-1) takes on Mateusz Masternak (36-3) for the vacant European Cruiserweight title, in what looks like being another interesting fight.  For Bellew this is a chance to work his way towards a possible world title shot at cruiserweight, after having failed to win a world title at light heavyweight.  However, Masternak is a tough opponent, and looks set to give Bellew his most challenging test since his move up to the cruiserweight division.

sky sports
Luke Campbell takes on Yvan Mendy for the WBC International Lightweight championship, in what is another step for Campbell towards an inevitable world title fight. Also on the undercard, will be Dereck Chisora, who is still rebuilding after his one sided defeat to Tyson Fury in November of last year. Chisora’s opponent has yet to be announced, but will not be anyone too dangerous as the possibility of a match up between Chisora and the winner of Joshua vs Whyte, is obviously something that promoter Eddie Hearn is looking towards.

All in all, it looks to be an exciting night of boxing, its just a real shame that promoter Eddie Hearn and Sky have decided to put this promotion on Sky Box Office, therefore limiting the fans access to one of the most attractive promotions of the year. You’d think that both Sky and Hearn were already getting enough from there shows so as not to need to dig even more money out of the viewer by using Sky Box Office. Apparently, there is no end to the thirst for new revenue, even if it’s at the long term cost of the sport itself. 

Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes

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