BOXING

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR BOXING PREVIEW: Richardson Hitchins vs Gustavo Lemos

Rising super-lightweight star Richardson Hitchins takes the biggest step-up of his professional career this weekend as he takes on fellow undefeated contender Gustavo Lemos in Las Vegas, writes JORDAN NEILD.

Hitchins is 17-0 as a professional but he has never headlined his own show before nor has he faced a fighter as dangerous as Lemos.

After representing Haiti at the Olympics, Hitchins turned professional with a lot of hype around him and was briefly guided by Floyd Mayweather before switching allegiance to promoter Eddie Hearn and he hasn’t looked back since.

After impressing on undercards, Hitchins was handed an opportunity to fight former world title challenger Jose Zepeda in his last fight and after coming through that with a convincing decision victory, he proved he was ready to begin his path towards a world title at 140lbs.

British fight fans will remember Lemos after he ended the career of Welshman Lee Selby in 2022. Selby was a world class fighter but he was dismantled in five rounds by Lemos and the Argentine looked like a destructive puncher on that night.

Worryingly for Lemos, this is just his second fight in two years and his last contest was a one round blow-out against an overmatched opponent. That is less than ideal preparation when you are coming into a fight of this magnitude but the Argentine has cut a confident figure this week and as his record shows, he has the knockout power to hurt anyone in this division.

This is a classic puncher vs boxer matchup with Hitchins preferring to operate from the back foot and Lemos marauding forward on the front-foot looking to land knockout blows. As a natural counter puncher, Hitchins should have opportunities to hurt Lemos will remain confident knowing he only needs to land one.

Richardson Hitchins brings all the pedigree this weekend and although the power of Lemos is dangerous, his inactivity could go against him and as the fight wears on, the Argentine could leave gaps that will be exploited by a fighter like Hitchins.

This has all the ingredients to be a brilliant fight between two fighters on an upward trajectory. With so much on the line, risks could be taken by both men and with that in mind, the fight to not go the distance at (6/4) is worth keeping onside.

On the undercard, British stand-out Galal Yafai takes on Augustin Gauto and will be hoping a win will be enough to secure an all-British showdown with former world champion Sunny Edwards later this year.

Yafai, who is 6-0 (4KO), carried the weight of being an Olympic gold medallist after he signed his professional contract but he has been faultless since his debut and is well on his way to being fast tracked towards a world title. A potential fight with Edwards would be a huge event in the UK but he can’t afford any slip-ups this weekend if that is to happen.

Gauto is a tough 22-fight veteran but he has fought almost exclusively in his home country of Argentina and this is huge step up in competition for him. He has been stopped just once in his career so he is clearly tough but with he will be under pressure from the opening bell this weekend and Yafai will want a knockout to make a statement.

Galal Yafai to win in rounds 4-6 is worth some consideration.

Also on the undercard, super middleweight contender Diego Pacheco will look to improve to 21-0 as he takes on fellow American Shawn McCalman over twelve rounds. Since signing with promoter Eddie Hearn, Pacheco has been paraded around the globe featuring on cards in the USA, Saudi Arabia, and the UK all in the hope of capturing new fans on his journey to becoming a world champion.

The 23-year-old is exceptionally heavy handed and his hunger to secure knockouts is what excites promoters like Hearn. He is fast approaching world level and another knockout win this weekend will only enhance his reputation further.

Shawn McCalman has a respectable record of 15-0 (7KO) but he has been fighting on the small hall scene in America and has fought nobody at the level of Diego Pacheco. The 30-year-old deserves credit for taking such a huge task this weekend but he looks up against it.

The fight to have less than six completed rounds at (21/20) is the strongest bet of the weekend.


RECOMMENDED BETS
BACK Less than seven completed rounds in Pacheco vs McCalman 3pts at 21/20 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Hitchins vs Lemos to NOT go the distance 1pt at 6/4 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Galal Yafai to win in rounds 4-6 1pt at 5/2 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)


PROFIT/LOSS (APR 2024): +3.55 POINTS


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