Saturday night will see a potentially pivotal boxing event. Anthony Joshua will return to Wembley stadium, a historic battleground in which he has carved out his name. There have been complaints that the main event is insignificant but Joshua defending his unified world title can never be small fry.
On the undercard, two prospects receive an opportunity to leap up the rankings and a seasoned campaigner looks to show he’s still got it.
- Matty Askin defeats Lawrence Okolie via decision
Lawrence Okolie challenges Matty Askin on this card for the British Cruiserweight Title. Okolie is a promising cruiserweight prospect who turned pro in 2017 with a lot of hype. The narrative going into this fight is that it will be a coming out party for Okolie. Many are expecting him to run Askin over.
However, I believe Askin will subvert the narrative and upset Okolie on points. Okolie is a great talent, he is explosive and athletic with strong clinch work. He is still inexperienced at the top level though and in the early rounds, before he works up to a big shot, the gaps show.
Askin is seasoned with great movement and technique. Okolie cannot afford to make the mistakes against Askin, a more experienced fighter who can capitalise. I forsee Askin using his movement and shoulder rolls to evade Okolie’s jab, taking advantage of openings.
Okolie is a bright future star and he can come again, I believe Askin defends here though.
- Luke Campbell defeats Yvan Mendy via KO R4
Britain’s Luke Campbell is set for a big opportunity on Saturday. He rematches Yvan Mendy in a WBC final eliminator. If Campbell wins, he becomes mandatory challenger to Vasyl Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound number one.
It is worth noting that Mendy bested Campbell in the past. The Yorkshireman has elevated his game considerably since then though. Campbell went twelve rounds with Jorge Linares in 2017 and displayed slick technique against Troy James in May.
Campbell drops his opponents, not with massive power but with devestating precision and timing; stepping off at angles to deliver counter combinations. I forsee Campbell winning this rematch in emphatic fashion, likely a KO in round 3 or 4.
- David Price defeats Sergei Kuzmin via KO R3
During a March bout, David Price almost inserted himself into the title picture when he hurt Alexander Povetkin. Price came up short and was knocked out in the fifth round. The British heavyweight will look to erase the memory of defeat on Saturday when he faces an eerily similar opponent.
Sergei Kuzmin, like Price’s last opponent, is a stocky Russian heavy-hitter. He too marches forward and looks for a power shot in the pocket. Kuzmin is on a tear, knocking people out left and right so this is another risky fight for Price, especially given his mixed success recently.
With that said, he will be more motivated to get back in the win column. Perhaps more so due to the resemblance between Kuzmin and Povetkin. Kuzmin is a big puncher but Price has seen everything at this point. He may have to dig deep early but I believe Price will rain down shots on Kuzmin as he attempts to get in close, knocking him out early.
- Anthony Joshua defeats Alexander Povetkin via KO R5
Povetkin is a dangerous opponent, despite this, the fans are not taking him seriously as a contender to Joshua’s crown. This fight has been marred by the failed negotiations between Joshua and Wilder’s camps. It has also been overshadowed by the Fury/Wilder announcement.
This is a shame because Joshua/Povetkin could be one of the most exciting heavyweight clashes of 2018. Joshua has said that he wants to return to his previous M.O of knocking his opponents out early. It will be a return to the ferocious style of his formative years.
Povetkin though, has shown he can come back from being hurt against Price. He has devestating power of his own. This fight has the ingredients for a humdinger. I predict that Anthony Joshua will KO Povetkin in the fifth round and it will be a thriller.