Wilder & Saunders in Action For Bumper Boxing Weekend
May 14, 2019
This weekend sees two unbeaten kings of boxing return to the ring, in what is sure to be an explosive night of fight action.
A matter of hours before Deontay Wilder defends his WBC Heavyweight title in Brooklyn, New York, Billy Joe Saunders bids to become a two-weight world champion in the more glamorous setting of the Lamex Stadium in Stevenage.
Wilder’s 10th defence of his title comes against a familiar face to UK fight fans, as he takes on one-time Anthony Joshua challenger in Dominic Brezeale.
‘AJ’ would stop Brezeale in the 7th round, making the American only the second fighter to take the Brit into the second half of a fight.
Tyson Fury is the only man who Wilder has failed to stop inside the distance, and we expect the concussive power of ‘The Bronze Bomber’ to decide the outcome once again. More of that shortly.
Almost 3,500 miles away, Saunders steps up to super-middleweight in a bid to make history of his own. Not many fighters in the history of the sport can claim to have won world titles at two weight classes, and the opportunity to do so perhaps deserves a bigger challenge than the one posed by Shefat Isufi.
The German has three defeats on his record, all below world level, and ‘BJS’ should have no problems in dispatching of the 29-year old.
Both Wilder and Saunders are overwhelming favourites, with £10 on the fight winner double returning shy of £12.
With that in mind, let’s see if we can sniff out some value across the two fights, shall we?
Wilder to Stop Breazeale Between Rounds 5-8
In his 40 professional victories, only once has ‘The Bronze Bomber’ been taken the distance. That was back in 2015, when Bermane Stiverne frustrated the man from Alabama, although the decision was a unanimous one.
In November 2017, the pair would face off again, and the media hyped the fight with the suggestion that he could take Wilder the distance for a second time.
In no mood to waste time, the WBC king punished his old foe and landed a brutal knockout in the opening round.
Since then, Wilder has faced two men with genuine top five heavyweight claims, in Fury and Luis Ortiz.
He was in serious trouble against the latter, with the Cuban coming dangerously close to stopping the champ midway through the fight.
Wilder would recover to earn a 10th round stoppage, and set up a huge bout with ‘The Gypsy King’.
A controversial split decision draw would unfold, although most experts had Fury doing enough to claim the win.
The point of all this? Well, Breazeale, as a former title challenger, is levels above Stiverne, but nowhere near the ability of Ortiz and Fury.
He’s somewhere in between, and that should reflect in the outcome in Brooklyn.
With the defeat to Joshua the only blemish on his record, 18 of his 20 victories have come inside the distance.
Breazeale can clearly bang, and has won all of his three fights since that O2 Arena disappointment by way of knockout.
Wilder will be wary of the power that the Californian possesses and, as a result, will likely use the opening rounds to get a feel for his opponent.
I’m not expecting an early knockout but, at the same time, don’t expect Breazeale to take Wilder as deep as Ortiz did.
The 11/5 on offer with Ladbrokes for Wilder to claim the win between rounds 5-8 looks generous, and I’m happy to go against the general consensus that an early stoppage is on the cards.
Saunders to Beat Isufi on Points
Fans of boxing will hear fighters, pundits, trainers and promoters often bang on about how the sport is all about levels.
They’re right, of course, and Billy Joe will simply have too much class for Isufi this Saturday.
So much so, in fact, that the Hertfordshire fighter can be found as short as 2/9 in places to win inside the distance.
There’s no denying that Saunders could blow his opponent away early, or force him to quit with relentless pressure throughout.
However, I believe that the 3/1 (Betfair, Paddy Power) on BJS winning on points is much too wide, and will make a case for my thinking.
Isufi, although not expected to trouble Saunders, has campaigned at light-heavyweight as recently as 2016, and has even fought at cruiserweight prior to that!
At the weigh-in, promoter Frank Warren even commented with surprise on how much bigger Isufi looked during the face-off.
The Munich-based fighter has only been stopped once before, and that was back in 2015. On a ten-fight winning streak since then, he comes to Stevenage full of confidence.
Will that mean he grabs a win? Almost certainly not. However, given that Saunders has only managed three stoppage wins in his last 12 outings, 3/1 is a price that I just can’t leave alone.
So there you have it, two big scraps either side of the pond, available at a tasty 10/1 double with SkyBet.
Here are the bookmakers offering the best boxing odds.
Gary has been writing for a variety of well-respected media outlets for over a decade. His work has been published on websites such as The Mirror, Manchester Evening News and the Liverpool Echo. Formerly a reporter with the world’s largest football website in Goal.com, Gary is a boxing fanatic and previously ran his own boxing column for Betfred. He used to own an Everton fansite, but his love affair with his beloved Toffees is close to coming unstuck.