iD Boxing's insider Rob Tebbutt gives bet365 an exclusive insight as to where the value may be found on this weekend's hotly-anticipated 'Rage on the Red Sea' fight card.
Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua II
(WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight championship)
I sat down with Oleksandr Usyk this week and I didn’t get the impression he had bulked up. I saw him around the hotel too and I think he looked lean. I think there may be some deception going on there, some art of war mind games.
Joshua as well, I think everyone’s opinion of the fight is that Joshua’s going to go in there and be more aggressive and try to take him out. That probably will still be the case but he didn’t look massive to me, he looked quite lean, as his career has gone on I think he’s found quite a lean weight to settle at.
I think this fight, again, goes deep – maybe the distance, and Anthony Joshua by Decision or Technical Decision at 7/1, for me, is very good value. We’ve seen AJ box his way to a points victory over Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia. Admittedly Oleksander Usyk is a far different proposition.
In the last fight against Usyk one judge gave him four rounds and another even gave him five rounds. He is the commercial commodity, he is the more marketable fighter, the A-side, he may be the challenger, but he’s still the guy who brings in the money, which is very, very important in boxing.
If he’s able to win one or two more rounds than the last fight then I think he could take it on points, which makes the 7/1 Decision or Technical Decision method of victory very appealing.
Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique
(Final eliminator for the WBC world light-heavyweight title)
Mathieu Bauderlique is a good fighter, he got a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, but I just think Callum Smith is a lot more settled now at 175lb. His knockout of Lenin Castillo on the AJ vs Usyk undercard last year was chilling – it was horrible to watch.
I expect Smith to carry a lot of power and Bauderlique, while well-schooled to a degree in the amateurs, hasn’t really boxed anyone of note as a professional. For me, Smith will stop him and bring a halt to this fight inside the distance. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if it’s early.
I’d be looking at a Rounds 1 - 6 stoppage victory for Smith, so in the Round Group Betting (4) market, the 21/10 currently on offer is very appealing.
Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang
(Final eliminator for the IBF world heavyweight title)
I reckon this is going to be four or five rounds of absolute mayhem. Zhilei Zhang looks in good nick and for me, will come out and stick it on Filip Hrgovic. Not many people have done that and Hrgovic can be a bit of a slow starter, so it will make for a really interesting opening few rounds to the fight.
I don’t expect these two to hang around for too long, so the Under 4.5 Rounds at 11/10 is really appealing. Hrgovic carries serious power, and if you hit him with a good shot he wants to fire back, he’s a proper macho man! He takes it as a personal insult if you’re able to get to him.
Zhang at 7/1 to win by KO, TKO or Disqualification isn’t the worst bet in the world because he can really punch, and if Hrgovic make a typically slow start then he could get undone. As I say this fight won’t last long – it will be a real firefight!
Ben Whittaker vs Petar Nosic
I don’t think this fight has been made at as short notice as people might think. I know that Ben Whittaker had been earmarked for this card for a long time by the Saudi’s – both him and Frazer Clarke.
Petar Nosic is a decent fighter, he boxed at a decent level as an amateur, and for me this is a decent second fight for Ben. It depends on how Ben wants to go about his work on the night – if he wants to do a couple of rounds of showboating to get the crowd going, then I think it goes Over 2.5 Rounds, which, again, at 11/10 is decent value.
But he is very, very good, Ben Whittaker. If he does want to make a statement and blow him out in a round then he could very well do that, because he’s a mercurial talent, a brilliant fighter. But I do think the Over 2.5 Rounds market is where I would be going.
Badou Jack vs Richard Rivera
Richard Rivera has got gold teeth and tattoos so I think that has to count for something, his nickname is ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’ so, yeah, it’s gonna be an interesting one. He’s been boxing guys with very very poor resumes, Badou Jack is a seasoned campaigner.
He’s 38 years-old now Badou, and he’s not somebody who rushes his work. If I was betting I’d be looking at the second half of the fight, rounds 6 through to 10 or something like that.
Over 7.5 Rounds at 5/6 I think is a good bet. But it depends how good Richard Rivera is, I’ve not seen an awful lot of him. Badou will take his time, he’s not one to go out there and throw a million punches and try to get rid of him, so going beyond seven rounds is where my money would be going.