FRESH from some winners last week, our boxing man Iwan Evans (@IwanEvans19) casts his eye over this weekend’s best bets.
Liam Williams v Kris Carslaw | Saturday 18:30
The Andy Lee v Billy Joe Saunders fight is one of the most intriguing fights of the year, it’s been postponed twice already, but finally looks set to take place this weekend at the Manchester Arena. I can’t split the two, the bookies can’t either, and that’s why I’m focusing more on the undercard.
An interesting clash for the British and Commonwealth Super Welterweight titles sees the unbeaten Welshman Liam Williams (12-0-1, 7 KO’s) taking on experienced Scotsman Kris Carslaw (22-5, 5 KO’s).
Williams has been out for over an year after having surgery on his right hand, which was possibly career ending, and looks to make ground on current WBO champion Liam Smith, who defends his title against local man Jimmy Kelly on this bill.
A 2015 clash between the two Liam’s looked very much on the agenda this time last year, but with Williams’ hand injury, he’s been left to play catch up. An interesting note about that clash was that many people gave the Clydach Vale man a real chance, given the rapid progression he was showing in the last six months of last year.
The Gary Lockett trained fighter has stopped his last four opponents, and has demonstrated some fantastic skills and great power, making him potentially one of the most exciting boxer-punchers in the country.
Obvious question marks will be raised over ring rust, and how his hand holds up here, but I’m a huge fan of Lockett as a trainer, and can be confident in his charge coming into this contest in great shape.
Carslaw is a talented boxer himself, and is someone who deserves plenty of respect as he’s taken some tough jobs on the road in recent years, losing in Poland, and also in France to class light middleweight Michel Soro, who’s currently ranked #9 in the world with Boxrec.
He’s mixed it at a better level than Williams, having also lost a well matched clash for the British title in June 2012 with former world title challenger Brian Rose. In fact in his five defeats, Carslaw is yet to be stopped.
It will be a statement if Williams can get him out of there, and it’s something I have a feeling he’ll be able to do. Carslaw has decent footwork, which he uses to good effect early on in fights, but what I’ve noticed in his 12 round fights, is he seems to really slow down in the second half of the contest. I also feel he’s found his level, while Williams has the potential to go much higher than this.
In my opinion there won’t be a great deal between the two early, but Williams will start to really press home advantage from around round six or onwards, where he’ll use his excellent hand speed to connect more frequently on the Scotsman. Couple that with the potential ring-rustiness early on, I like Liam to win this anytime between rounds 7 and 12 at 17/10 with Paddy Power.
Tommy Langford v Robert Swierzbinski | Saturday 19:00
Middleweights Tommy Langford (14-0, 4 KO’s) and Robert Swierzbinski (15-4-1, 3 KO’s) have the distinction of being straight on after the main event, as they clash for the Birmingham based Devonian’s WBO Inter-Continental title.
Langford is someone who came on to my radar at the start of the year, as he’s taken a while to warm up as a pro. As an amateur he had an excellent pedigree, captaining England, and he had to rely very much on those skills early in his career, with just two of his 11 wins coming inside the distance.
He impressed with a real beatdown of Sheffield’s Wayne Reed in February, stopping him in the 5th, and followed that up with a 4th round stoppage of Mexican Julio Cesar Avalos in Dublin back in July.
Last time out in October he faced a step up in class, taking on tough Argentinian Cristian Fabian Rios at Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall, where he impressed massively, taking all 10 rounds on the three judges scorecard, in scoring a wide Unanimous Decision.
He looked to be punching harder though, and what Tommy does very well is he throws plenty of combinations. He’s getting stronger, and could continue to make great strides, given before that contest, he was given the added motivation of knowing that he and his wife were expecting their first child.
I see this contest as a slight step down in class for Langford, as he takes on Pole Swierzbinski, who’s shared the ring with some good class fighters, but has always seemed to struggle.
His unbeaten record was taken in February 2013 as he lost to decent countryman Maciej Sulecki over eight rounds, a loss which four months later took him over to Canada, as he was brutally stopped in a round by former IBF champion David Lemieux, who’s known as one of the P4P biggest punchers in the sport.
Some low level wins followed, but an eye opening defeat in this country was suffered in May 2014, as he was knocked down seven times en route to a 7th round stoppage to Chris Eubank Jnr at Liverpool’s Olympia.
Just over a year ago, he was beaten by British journeyman Patrick Mendy over 12 rounds in his home country, and following that he was held to an embarrassing draw by a 1-0 Belarussian.
Despite Langford’s low KO%, I see great value in him winning this 10 round fight inside the distance. Swierzbinski is certainly game, but his chin and ability raise significant doubts. Tommy’s a class act in my eyes, and I really like the 15/8 on offer from Paddy Power on him ending this contest early.
Luis Ortiz v Bryant Jennings | Sunday 03:00
An excellent card at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, televised live on HBO, sees heavyweights Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 KO’s) and Luis Ortiz (23-0, 20 KO’s) clash for the Cuban’s interim WBA heavyweight title.
Jennings returns from a near eight month absence since he lost a unanimous decision to then unified Heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko, at Madison Square Garden. The Philadelphian produced a creditable display however, and could become a big player in this revitalised division with victory here.
Bryant is one of the most mobile Heavyweights in the top 15, and has some excellent skills. I feel this is a great match-up for him as he comes up against another southpaw.
He earnt his shot at Klitschko after claiming consecutive wins against lefties in Artur Szpilka (TKO 10) and Mike Perez (SD 12), both decent competitors in their own right. The Perez victory was a superb one, he should great fitness, and that’s something which could give him a big edge here.
Ortiz is a typical Cuban, he has fantastic natural ability, good power, but probably not the best engine. He won the 2006 National Championships, and was a quarter finalist in the 2005 Amateur World Championships, the pedigree is most certainly there. However I worry about what he will do as he comes up against a credible opponent, the first of his pro career so far.
Luis only returned from an enforced drug ban in June 2015, and has beaten two terrible opponents in that time. The only decent name on his record, Lateef Kayode, who he stopped in the first round, is a victory shrouded in doubt, as it was after this contest he tested positive for a banned substance.
The portsider is facing a big step up in class here, and there’s been a history in the last few years of Cuban amateur Heavyweights beating up poor opposition, only to step up and fail miserably, Odlanier Solis is certainly one name that crops up. Ortiz has obvious talent, but the 36 year old may not be ready for this, and I was astonished to see him as the favourite.
Jennings knows how to beat similar guys, and they match well physically, with both having similar reach, and Ortiz just an inch taller. The way I see this fight going is Bryant being able to ride out a possibly tricky opening three rounds, to out-box Ortiz over the later stages for a possible late stoppage or Unanimous Decision win.
He’s a sensational 7/4 with BetVictor to win, and I’ll be staking bigger if the Cuban comes in heavier than the 16st 13lbs 3/4oz that he did in his last outing at Friday’s weigh in. A sign of a bad training camp would be worrying signs for the man dubbed “The Real King Kong”.
Liam Williams v Kris Carslaw – Williams to win between Round 7-12 (17/10 Paddy Power)
Tommy Langford v Robert Sweirzbinski – Langford by KO, TKO or Disqualification (15/8 Paddy Power)
Luiz Ortiz v Bryant Jennings – Jennings to win (7/4 BetVictor)
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