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Will Bomber's power prove too much?

Image courtesy of Mark Robinson

SEAN ANDERSON

Whilst it is Tony Bellew rightly headlining at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Saturday, spectators and those tuning in on Sky Sports can look forward to an action packed card.

The early part of the card sees Commonwealth gold medallist Scott Fitzgerald continue his fledgling career whilst former Commonwealth super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding continues on the comeback trail, both against journeymen opposition. Tom Farrell also looks to extend his unbeaten record in a ten round super lightweight contest against Farid Hakimi, with the vacant WBA international super lightweight belt up for grabs.

The card starts in earnest with a cruiserweight bout between two unbeaten fighters. Middlesbrough’s Simon Vallily (9-0, 2 KOs) takes a marked step up against Latvian puncher Mairis Breidis (20-0, 17 KOs). Vallily has yet to fight anyone of real substance, and he could well be biting off more than he can chew against a man that holds a knockout victory over former world heavyweight title challenger Manuel Charr.

This is followed by the likeable Sean Dodd (11-2-1, 2 KOs) looking to defend his WBC international lightweight title he gained back in May. Former European title challenger Francesco Patera (16-1, 7 KOs) of Belgium stands in his way, a man whose only blemish is a points defeat to Luke Campbell conqueror Yvan Mendy. The bookies have this heavily in Dodd’s favour, and when you consider the conclusive nature of Patera’s unanimous defeat to Mendy it is easy to see why. However the Belgian has never been stopped, and with the lack of concussive power that Dodd carries, a point’s victory for the Liverpudlian looks a shoe-in.

One of Britain’s brightest prospects is next up with the Adam Booth trained Northern Irishman Ryan Burnett (14-0, 9 KOs) defending his British bantamweight title against local boy Ryan Farrag (16-2, 4 KOs). Farrag’s career hit the buffers earlier in the year with a surprise knockout defeat whilst European champion; he will be looking to spring a surprise of his own against the young Ulsterman whose world champion credentials have been clear to see in recent outings.

Chief support is the crossroads fight between London 2012 golden boy Luke Campbell (14-1, 11 KOs) and local veteran Derry Matthews (38-10-2, 20 KOs). There is only four years between the two boxers in age, however this does not tell the full story. Matthews is an experienced, hard hitting boxer of 50 fights. He holds notable wins over Anthony Crolla, Tommy Coyle, Curtis Woodhouse and John Simpson, but he has also shown his frailties with knockout defeats seven times.

However these defeats have come against some stellar opposition; it should also be remembered that he showed he still has more to offer in a battling points defeat to WBO champion Terry Flanagan. The danger is that Campbell will be looking to make a statement after showing some defensive weaknesses in his last couple of fights. It is something he is going to need to do if he is going fulfil his ambition to become world champion, and anything less than convincing will leave people asking questions.

Campbell by late stoppage or decision would be most likely, however Matthews has been written off many times before and is more than capable of springing a surprise knockout victory.

The headline event sees the outspoken Bellew (27-2-1, 17 KOs) do battle with American BJ Flores (32-2-1, 20 KOs) in defence of his WBC world cruiserweight title. Flores has already matched Bellew in the verbal’s department but it is yet to be seen if he can cope with Bellew’s proven power. There is no reason to think he can’t considering his only two defeats have come over the distance against decent opposition in Beibut Shumenov and Danny Green, however he does not have a marquee win on his record. It is likely Bellew will be looking to put on a show for his home fans but he must not underestimate Flores who is likely to stick around. Again a late stoppage or point’s victory looks the likely outcome in favour of the champion.