The boxing season really gets underway this week as we are served up a card from Miami which features three fascinating world title fights. Like always, January has been starved of boxing action but fans look to be in for a real treat here in the early hours of Friday morning (UK TIME).
At the top of the card, reigning WBO champion Demetrius Andrade makes the fourth defence of his title against Ireland’s Luke Keeler. Andrade is supremely talented and now established as one of the leading middleweights on the planet. A slick, awkward, southpaw he is undefeated in twenty-eight fights and it will take something very special to change that this weekend.
His opponent, Luke Keeler is a seasoned campaigner but he is taking a huge step up in class in this fight. Out of his seventeen wins so far, Keeler has stopped just five of his opponents which suggests that he may not having the power to discourage the champion and it could be an uphill struggle for him to establish any sort of authority in this fight.
From a betting perspective, Andrade predictably starts as a very short favourite (1/33) and it looks to be a routine defence of his title. However, as a champion in one of the most exciting divisions in the sport, he needs a statement win to get the fans excited about what comes next and with seventeen stoppages in twenty-eight fights Andrade carries the power to end this one inside the twelve-round distance.
The fight looks to be heavily one sided in Andrade’s favour and a price of (4/1) for him to win in rounds 1-3 looks to represent a bit of value.
In support, IBF super featherweight champion Tevin Farmer takes on Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz in a fight that has been brewing for a long time. Both men have been vocal about their dislike for each other and have engaged in regular ‘trash talk’ on social media during the build up to the fight.
Farmer is one of the most interesting characters in boxing. Although he is now a world champion and unbeaten since 2013, his career has not been without its hardships. He was knocked out on his professional debut and was beaten again in his fourth outing. His journey to the top of the sport has been quite remarkable and he is proof that undefeated records shouldn’t define a fighter.
‘JoJo’ Diaz is a former Olympian and has been beaten just once in thirty-one fights. That defeat came in the featherweight division and came in his first attempt at a world title against Gary Russell Jr, a fine fighter in his own right. Diaz has made steady progress as a professional and will represent the toughest test of Farmer’s reign.
This fight is a very intriguing clash of styles and looks to be one that will go the distance. Farmer has impressively developed a defensive style that has resurrected his career. Diaz is slightly more aggressive but he will need a career best performance to capture his first world title.
Five of Tevin Farmer’s last six fights have ended in unanimous decision victories and he has become a master in breaking down his opponent over the twelve round distance and there is a good chance he will do the same thing this time around. Farmer to win on points @ (8/13) looks very likely.
The third world title clash on the card comes from the super-bantamweight division as IBF and WBA champion Daniel Roman defends his titles against the hard hitting Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Roman is a solid champion and impressively won his belt on away soil in Japan. Since then, he has developed into a formidable force in the super bantamweight division and has proved he can win fights in different ways.
His opponent is part of an exciting generation of boxers from Uzbekistan that are currently launching an assault on the sport. Akhmadaliev has had just seven fights as a professional but already finds himself fighting for a world title. He has stopped six of his first seven opponents and carries remarkable knockout power, which perhaps explains why he is operating at the pinnacle of the sport at such an early stage.
This could be another unveiling of a boxer that will go on to be a real force at super bantamweight but regardless of his talent, this represents a huge step up in class for Akhmadaliev. Roman is a proud champion and a seasoned campaigner who knows how to manage a fight over the championship distance, something Akhmadaliev has never been close to completing as a professional.
Despite his relative experience, there is a strong chance the belts change hands here. It is harsh to suggest someone as established as Daniel Roman could be blown away by a relative novice but Akhmadaliev hits extremely hard and Roman can be caught clean. Akhmadaliev to win by KO/TKO @ (23/10) is a bet worth a lot of consideration.
RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Andrade to win between rounds 1-3 1.5 pts @ 4/1 with starsports.bet
BACK Farmer to win on points 4pts @ 8/13 with starsports.bet
BACK Akhmadaliev to win by KO/TKO 2.5pts @ 23/10 with starsports.bet
PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 237.54 points