Paul Webb (@Paul_725)
Matchroom Boxing return to Birmingham for the third time in ten month’s tomorrow, switching arena to the Genting NEC from the Barclaycard NIA with several talented local fighters on the bill.
Stourbridge’s Sam Eggington’s (17-2 9KO’s) rise to main event status has been rapid and Saturday he faces his trickiest test as a pro when he defends his British and Commonwealth welterweight titles against Bradley Skeete (22-1 10KO’s).
After a succession of impressive performances Eggington had some what of an off night against late stand in Dale Evans, getting dropped in the second round and he was tagged numerous times on route to a points victory.
His promoter Eddie Hearn urged caution after the fight noting his youth and inexperience but praised his success in turning the fight around.
Skeete who challenges for the belts for the second time desperately needs a big win. The Londoner’s style has often been criticized but he possesses solid fundamentals and at over six feet he will carry a considerable size advantage over Eggington.
I think this could end up being a potential banana skin for the champion especially if Skeete doesn’t engage and boxes on the back foot as most expect him to do so. The bookmakers have it close (Eggington 8/13-Skeete 6/5) and I expect it go the distance.
Kal Yafai (17-0 11KO’s) will challenge for the vacant WBA super flyweight Inter-continental be against Nicaraguan Dixon Flores (12-3-2 4KO’s) as he closes in on a world title shot. The fight pits number fourteen against fifteen in the WBA’s rankings and will be an eliminator for Kohei Kono’s belt. Yafai is ranked higher with the IBF and WBO so it is unclear quite what route they will take.
Flores who has already challenged for a world title, a one sided fifth round stoppage loss to Carlos Cuadras will represent a step up of sorts but we have had some real mixed performances from Latin American fighters recently so hopefully he doesn’t show up and fall over at the earliest convenience.
The younger of the Yafai brothers Gamal (8-0 3KO’s) gets his first title shot against Commonwealth super bantamweight champion Bobby Jenkinson (9-1-1 2KO’s). It will also be the 24 year old’s first twelve rounder with his previous three fights going the distance over six, eight and ten rounds.
122lb’s is a hot division in the UK and Jenkinson who pulled off a shock upset against Lewis Pettitt last September will be coming in to this full of confidence. Gamal has a lot of talent but has yet to translate those skills in to an exciting performance, he needs to not just win Saturday night but impress the crowd and TV audience.
The rest of the bill see’s Birmingham pair Michael Rooney and Marcus Ffrench meet for the Midlands Lightweight title while Karl Wiggins defends his Midlands Area Welterweight strap against Ryan Fields.
Bet tip of the night: Skeete Points & Gamal Yafai points double 8/1
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