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Boxing: All you need to know this weekend

The highlight of this weekend's boxing comes from Dubai when Sunny Edwards puts his IBF world flyweight title on the line against Muhammad Waseem.

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Edwards, priced at 1/16, won the IBF strap courtesy of a unanimous decision triumph over South Africa's Moruti Mthalane at York Hall, London in April 2021.

Showtime came through his one and only defence via the same route - relying on the judges - when defeating Jayson Mama in Dubai in December.

Waseem, who can be backed at 7/1, is attempting to win a world title for the second time after falling short against Mthalane in July 2018.

That loss remains the only one on Waseem's record and he heads into Saturday's contest on the back of four successive victories.

Former light welterweight world champion Regis Prograis, priced at 1/25, steps out on Saturday's undercard against the current 8/1 chance Tyrone McKenna.

Prograis lost his WBA light welterweight strap to Josh Taylor in October 2019 but he has responded well, beating Juan Heraldez and Ivan Redkach by TKO.

McKenna holds a 22-2-1 record and this weekend's contest is arguably the toughest of his career.

Elsewhere, 1/33 David Avanesyan defends his European welterweight belt against 9/1 Oskari Metz square off at Wembley Arena on 19th March.

Avanesyan is hoping to put himself back in the world title conversation after relinquishing his WBA welterweight title to Lamont Peterson in 2017.

The 33-year-old has won five in a row and it's not surprising to see him rated as a heavy favourite against Metz, who is competing for his first-ever championship as a professional.

Where and when will the fights take place?

Fans of boxing can enjoy both cards thanks to the timings. Firstly, Edwards vs Waseem is set to take place in Dubai at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre.

The undercard, which includes the contest between Prograis and McKenna starts at 13:00, while main event ringwalks for the title bout are scheduled for 17:00.

Boxing fans won't have long to wait for further action to fill their Saturday evening with the event in undercard at Ovo Arena, London starting at 19:30.

Avanesyan and Metz are due to begin their ringwalks at around 22:30, although that will depend largely on how the earlier fights play out.

Where can you watch the events?

UK fight fans can pick up broadcast of the Edwards v Waseem on Eurosport, while Avanesyan vs Metz will be streamed live on BT Sport 3.

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What is on the line?

There are belts on the line in both of the main events, although one is a world level and the other a European strap.

London-born Edwards advanced through the ranks to win British and European titles before getting his shot at world level.

Despite not boasting a huge amount of knockout power, Edwards is a fine technical boxer and he used all of that talent to overcome Mthalane in his hometown last year.

Mthalane had held the belt since 2017 and made four successful defences but he was out-boxed by the Brit.

Edwards will of course be keen to retain his title but it's also a contest that could help to further grow his fanbase across the globe.

Meanwhile, Avanesyan has made clear his ambition to return to world level after a short-lived stint as WBA welterweight champion.

He made one successful defence of the belt, beating Shane Mosley in 2016 but came up short when losing via unanimous decision against Peterson in 2017.

Avanesyan has been in devastating form ever since and he heads into Saturday's contest on the back of five successive TKO wins.

Anything but a victory and the Russian will kiss goodbye to any hope of earning a shot at redemption in the near future.

Finland's Metz is still making his way in the sport but he does boast an impressive 15-0 record, most recently earning a split decision win over Emanuele Cavallucci in August.

Who is on the Edwards v Waseem undercard?

Regis Prograis vs Tyrone McKenna
TJ Doheny vs Cesar Juarez
Hovhannes Bachkov vs Cristian Rafael Coria
Peter McGrail vs Uriel Lopez
Faizan Anwar vs Khojiakbar Qodirokhunov
Fahad Al Bloushi vs Mohamed Kashinde
Bader Samreen vs Dennis Bartos
Jamie King vs Naveen Verma
Khalid Ayub vs Annem Sivareddy

Who is on the Avanesyan vs Metz undercard?

Dennis McCann vs Charles Tondo
Louie Lynn vs James Beech Jr
Hamzah Sheeraz vs Jez Smith
Mark Chamberlain vs Jeff Ofori
Sam Noakes vs Vincenzo Finiello
Henry Turner vs Ivan Njegac
Masood Abdulah vs Sandeep Singh Bhatti
Sonny Ali vs Des Newton
Khalid Ali vs TBA
Royston Barney-Smith vs Adan Martinez

What are the records of the fights?

Edwards is yet to taste defeat in his professional career, winning all 17 trips to the ring with 13 of those coming via decision.

Waseem has fought competitively on 13 occasions and he boasts 12 victories, while eight of those have landed courtesy of a knockout.

Avanesyan heads into his European title defence with a 28-3 record and has picked up 16 wins by knockout.

Oskari has five knockout wins on his record and is yet to lose in 15 professional contests.

Edwards v Waseem prediction

Momentum is a huge factor in combat sports and that's something Edwards can lean on as he attempts to extend his unbeaten record.

There's no doubting Waseem's quality, however, the one loss on his record certainly catches the eye when trying to plot a way through this weekend's contest.

It came in Waseem's last bout at world title level when he lost via unanimous decision against Mthalane.

Waseem was picked apart throughout 12 rounds by the man Edwards beat to claim the belt just last year.

A lack of knockout power for Edwards means this one is likely to go the distance and it could be worth getting behind the champion to win by decision or technical decision at 2/7.

Avanesyan v Metz prediction

Avanesyan looks like a man on a mission as he tries to force his way back into the world title conversation.

As such a heavy favourite, priced at 1/33, it's merely a case of when he gets this done and not if.

Metz may have a 15-0 record but Avanesyan represents a major step up in quality and this one isn't likely to last long.

Avanesyan has won his last five by TKO with two of those victories coming in round one, while his last fight against Liam Taylor was over just 37 seconds into round two.

The Russian has undoubtedly been seeking statement wins and there's value in backing him to stop the bout in rounds 1-3 at 21/10.

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