BOXING boff Iwan Evans (@IwanEvans19) has a 100% success rate on WLB. Can his wining spree continue this weekend?
Kevin Mitchell v Daniel Estrada | Saturday 21.00 | Sky Sports 1
Saturday night sees the return of boxing on Sky Sports, as Matchroom Sport promote a very exciting bill at the 02 Arena in London, headlined by a lightweight clash between Dagenham's Kevin Mitchell (38-2, 28 KO's) and Mexico's Daniel Estrada (32-3-1, 24 KO's) for the WBC Silver Title.
Mitchell is one of the most naturally gifted fighters seen in a British ring over the last 10 years, but both times he's had word title opportunities, he's not made it past the fourth Round – Michael Katsidis stopped him on a big night at Upton Park and two years later he was brutally dispatched by Ricky Burns in front of a hostile Glaswegian crowd.
Since then the Dagenham fighter has switched camps – promotionally and training – by joining Eddie Hearn and reuniting with Essex-based trainer Tony Sims.
“The Hammer” showed early signs of a return to form in October 2013, with an impressive win over Estrada's countryman Marcos Lopez inside five rounds. But his last fight was a real struggle, as he was outboxed for much of it with talented Canadian Ghislain Maduma, only to significantly step up his work-rate for an 11th round stoppage.
The inactivity since then could potentially make this an incredibly difficult bout for Mitchell. He’s long struggled with boredom in between fights, admitting in the build-up to this contest to have not trained for his significant title fights.
Estrada comes over on the back of a world title defeat, having been stopped in nine rounds by big-hitting Californian Omar Figueroa. Estrada gave him some problems but to be fair, Figueroa has never been the best defensively, and fighters will always have success against him.
Since then the Mexican has broken up with his manager, and also changed training bases; now teaming up with renowned Mexican trainer Nacho Beristain. The great fighter Juan Manuel Marquez (who Beristian also trains) has also travelled over for this bout.
Estrada's other two defeats weren’t against any notable opposition and that suggests he's never had the greatest technical skills. From the clips I've seen of him he appears flat footed, not the biggest puncher, and with only average hand speed.
Some people in the trade are backing the Mexican visitor to win here; there's certainly a case to be made, given Mitchell's enigmatic personality. However, the vibes from Mitchell’s camp are positive and I'm expecting him to relish this test.
Kevin isn't getting any younger, this is the final chapter of his career but I don't think the story will be ending just yet. In my opinion, he's technically better than Estrada and I think the Mexican will be in front of him all night, ending up taking too much punishment for his own good.
Mitchell can be backed at 7/4 with Bet365 to win by KO, TKO or Disqualification and that’s the bet for the Sky Sports showdown on Saturday night.
John Wayne Hibbert v Tyler Goodjohn | Saturday 19.30
Rising Heavyweight Anthony Joshua was meant to figure on this show but had to pull out of a fight with Kevin Johnson earlier this month with a back injury. Talented Middleweight John Ryder is chief support, exciting flyweight star Charlie Edwards makes his debut, while there's a couple of real 50/50 fights in a buzzing 140lb domestic division as Tommy Martin clashes with Ricky Boylan for the English title, and John Wayne Hibbert defends his WBC International title against Tyler Goodjohn.
It's that Hibbert’s bout with Goodjohn that takes my eye from a betting perspective. The bookmakers are offering generous odds on Sawbridgeworth-based boxer Goodjohn to win and at 6/5 (William Hill), I’m in.
Hibbert (14-2, 8 KO's) has sold around 600 tickets for this one and will be heavily supported inside the arena. He comes into this bout on the back of a real confidence boosting victory over decent Argentinian and Lucas Matthysse lookalike, Leonardo Esteban Gonzalez, overpowering the South American in five rounds.
Given that the visitor had been in with a good level of opponent, it's certainly a name on Hibbert's record but what should be noted is that the Horndon-on-the-Hill boxer is massive for the weight, and Gonzalez was a blown up Lightweight.
The 30-year-old has lost just twice, and one of them was early in his career in Prizefighter. But the second occasion could be seen as significant, coming over 10 round against current Commonwealth champion Dave Ryan, who beat Tyrone Nurse for the vacant title in October.
An interesting form line will tell you that Nurse gave Goodjohn a real hiding over 10 rounds in April, totally outboxing the ex English champion, and looking at the respective defeats to both men, suggests both may have found their level.
However, my favourite Boxing saying is “styles make fights”, and Hibbert is a different fighter to Nurse. It makes this showdown a real 50/50 contest.
Tyler showed no dent to his confidence from that defeat, rebounding with a 10 round decision win over then 12-0 Ricky Boylan in October. It seemed as though significant progress had been made in the gym in the six-month period between fights, with respected Essex trainer Peter Sims.
“Tornado” is a far better boxer than people give him credit for, and his self-esteem will have gone up considerably after that victory last time out.
Given that Hibbert has fought as high as 158lbs (nearly middleweight) limit in his career, he could well over-power Goodjohn (as he did with Gonzalez) but I'm expecting Tyler to be quicker, and able to keep this fight on the outside for a points victory. Take William Hill’s 6/5 that Goodjohn becomes the new WBC International Light Welterweight champion.
Kevin Mitchell v Daniel Estrada – Kevin Mitchell to win by KO, TKO or Disqualification (7/4 Bet365)
John Wayne Hibbert v Tyler Goodjohn – Tyler Goodjohn to win (6/5 William Hill)