Bivol and Ramirez conflict in a top-drawer conflict whereas Cameron-McCaskill has the makings of a basic on an excellent card, writes Declan Taylor
IT IS two towards three within the light-heavyweight division atop a formidable card which marks Eddie Hearn and Matchroom’s first official foray into Abu Dhabi this weekend.
The Essex resident has already taken his steady from America to Saudi, by way of his again backyard, and at present promotes in Mexico, Spain and Italy and plenty of different territories. And, as of this weekend, you’ll be able to add Abu Dhabi to the listing when this curious present is finished.
Dmitry Bivol, the Canelo conqueror, is second solely to the fearsome Artur Beterbiev on the planet rankings after amassing a 20-0 (11) file. With greater than twice as many victories, the equally undefeated Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, 44-0 (30), is one spot beneath him.
The 31-year-old from Mazatlan, has had an odd profession. One would possibly assume a Mexican man with that sort of file could be a pay-per-view famous person however he has by no means actually crossed over, regardless of a prolonged spell as probably the greatest super-middleweights on the planet.
His first combat up at 175lbs was again in April 2019, when he stopped Tommy Karpency inside 4, however he has boxed simply 4 occasions within the three and a half years since. Bivol, too, has had intervals of inactivity throughout his profession however he has constructed up a head of steam with Matchroom and made a mockery of the bookmakers’ odds in his final outing, when he beat Saul Alvarez by way of unanimous determination in Might.
With that type it’s arduous to choose towards Bivol on this one, though, not like towards the opposite Mexican in Vegas earlier this yr, he won’t get pleasure from such a big dimension benefit. In actual fact, regardless of his step up from super-middleweight, Ramirez appears just like the a lot larger man of the 2. The southpaw may punch and has by no means needed to go the gap as a light-heavyweight.
Nevertheless, all issues thought-about, Bivol is the decide right here though he might have to return by way of some intervals of actual bother to win a call on the playing cards on the Etihad Area and retain his WBA belt.
Except for the principle occasion, Hearn has packed the cardboard filled with British curiosity. Within the chief assist, late call-up Zelfa Barrett has stepped in to combat Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov after Joe Cordina was pressured to withdraw from a conflict with the Tajikistani man attributable to a hand damage.
Manchester’s 28-1 Barrett has due to this fact had little discover for this combat however didn’t suppose twice about taking the possibility towards the 16-0-1 (13) “Shere Khan”, who’s at present ranked at 4 within the super-featherweight rankings and holds the IBF strap.
“I’m prepared,” he mentioned. “I’m greater than prepared. That is my time. For all my life that is what I’ve dreamed of since I used to be a younger boy. Life is about timing and you’ll’t predict life. You simply should take these alternatives with each arms.”
Barrett, 29, tragically misplaced his mom, Sonia, in June 2021 and says he will likely be pushed to victory by her reminiscence. “She’d be so happy with me,” he added. “Simply the way in which I’ve been coping with the state of affairs of her dying. I’m nonetheless working arduous. I’ve been telling my uncle [trainer Patt Barrett] how I’ve simply wished to do it for them. However he mentioned ‘no, do it for you, we’re happy with you, and your mum could be happy with you’.
“I’ve needed to take care of the deaths of my brother, my mum, my cousin and simply coping with so many issues in my life, it’s all for this second. It’s a life altering alternative however I gained’t let this variation me as an individual.”
There is no such thing as a denying he’s up towards it right here and unsurprisingly he’s the betting underdog at round 12/5 with most bookmakers. Rakhimov appears formidable on the weight and the one slight blemish on his file is the 12-round majority draw towards the chubby Jo Jo Diaz in February 2021.
He has, nevertheless, boxed simply as soon as within the 20 months since, a two-round retirement of 4-4 Sardor Muzaffarov. Maybe this can be a good time for Barrett to face the 28-year-old southpaw, who had been making ready for Cordina. If he can keep on his toes, Barrett has the requisite expertise to nick this on factors, however that’s a giant if, particularly on what might have been a shortened camp.
Rakhimov victory needs to be the decide however anticipate Barrett to offer each ounce within the pursuit of victory.
It is usually an enormous – and harmful – evening for Chantelle Cameron, who faces Chicago puncher Jessica McCaskill over 10-twos for all 4 belts at super-lightweight. Cameron, from Northampton has not put a foot mistaken on her journey to 16-0 (8) however in McCaskill, a former champion at welterweight, she faces one of many best possible fighters in all of girls’s boxing. This has the makings of a terrific scrap and might be one of the best on the entire card.
Since dropping to Katie Taylor at York Corridor in 2017, McCaskill has racked up seven straight wins together with back-to-back victories over Norwegian icon Cecilia Braekhus. Her final two fights have been stoppages towards Kandi Wyatt and Alma Ibarra so she’s going to arrive in Abu Dhabi oozing confidence.
So too will Cameron and this appears like a combat which may rival the classics we’ve seen served up by Taylor and Amanda Serrano or Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields throughout 2022. In actual fact, each ladies know that victory right here will push them up the queue for a crack at Taylor in what will likely be a money-spinning out of doors occasion at Croke Park subsequent yr. That is one other arduous one to name however Cameron has been ready for her probability to essentially escape and this might be the evening she dazzles. Cameron on factors, if she will resist the urge to get sucked right into a battle.
Finishing the five-fight card are two of the Yafai brothers, Kal and Galal – the primary time the pair have ever boxed on the identical invoice. The previous has not boxed since he was overwhelmed by Roman Gonzalez in February 2020 and returns over 10 towards Jerald Paclar. His youthful brother Galal, in the meantime, takes on Mexico’s Gohan Garcia, throughout 10 threes. Each will win inside the gap.
THE VERDICT: Glorious invoice with some to- notch matchmaking.