There’s no super-fight scheduled this weekend, but there’s plenty of intriguing action to get stuck into. In particular, the 32Red-sponsored ‘Edge of Glory’ card on BT Sport and BoxNation, headlined by Josh Warrington v Dennis Ceylan.
Warrington is the clear favourite for the bout at 1/10 with 32Red Sport and you can’t really argue with that price. He’s been sparring with the talented super-featherweight Zelfa Barrett in the run up to this contest and it’s not a stretch to say he’ll have been posed more questions in those rounds than he will from the unbeaten Dane on Saturday. As Josh wrote in his 32Red blog this week, he’s ‘been in with better opposition’.
The intrigue in this bout comes largely from the risk/reward equation facing Warrington. The reality is, he won’t get a huge amount of credit for simply beating Ceylan, but if the unthinkable happens and he suffers a defeat, the big nights against Lee Selby or Carl Frampton in 2018 are off the table. The card is aptly named ‘Edge of Glory’, but it could equally be ‘Edge of Disaster’.
A look at Ceylan’s record suggests he’s no mug, but as is often the case in boxing, there’s a little more to the numbers when you dig deeper. His split-decision win over Ryan Walsh was questionable at best and you’d certainly start Josh a heavy favourite against the man from Cromer. It’s his technical draw against Tyson Fury’s cousin, Isaac Lowe which piques my interest though…
Ceylan started that fight reasonably well on the front foot and kept a steady pace with his jab, but by round 4 you began to get the sense that Lowe was starting to find his rhythm and rough his opponent up. The tide hadn’t turned, but you’d certainly have fancied your chances of a positive result if you’d been a Lowe backer.
As soon as Lowe began to back his man up against the ropes, Ceylan took full advantage of what looked a relatively innocuous clash of heads and the fight was ended due to Ceylan having blurry vision. The Dane walked away still in possession of his European title, but tellingly never did much to indicate he’d be open for a rematch. That was on a home card (as all his fights have been up until now) and I suspect that if he didn’t enjoy a tough time in front of his own crowd, he won’t be too keen on one in front of a raucous Leeds Arena!
Josh isn’t famed for his one-punch knockout power, so any stoppage prediction comes with an obvious health warning in his fights. He does however punch hard enough to keep his opponents honest and he’ll keep the pressure on for every minute of every round. Warrington is to my mind a level above Ceylan technically, he has an aggressive style which means anyone is in for a tough fight and Ceylan’s last outing suggests he might not want to dig as deep as the Yorkshireman. My prediction is for Josh to get Ceylan out between rounds 7-12 at 4/1 – more than likely with Ceylan’s corner finding a reason to allow him an honourable exit.
Also on the card on Saturday is the excellent match-up between Tyrone Nurse and Jack Catterall for the British title. Amazingly for a 27-year-old, Nurse is going into his 40th pro outing and based on experience you’d give him the edge. Catterall however, starts the 11/25 favourite and would be my pick in this one.
The negative from Nurse’s 40 fights is he hung around a long time on the small-hall circuit and fought a lot of soft opponents with losing records. In recent times, when stepping up in calibre of opposition, he’s been pushed closer than you’d have expected (draws against Jenkins and Hughes) and caught with shots a lot more often than he’d have liked. Catterall may not have faced any world-beaters himself yet, but purely based on the ‘eye test’ he’s looked like a real talent in wins against Martin Gethin and Tom Stalker.
Catterall will be looking to put on a show on Saturday and elevate himself up alongside Scotland’s Josh Taylor as the best British prospect at super-lightweight. That would be another fantastic all-British fight for the future and I can see him getting rid of Nurse in the second half of this one to take a step closer towards it.
The fun doesn’t end in Leeds this weekend and if you’re reading this before Friday, there’s a really intriguing fight involving a British Olympian to whet your appetite for Saturday’s show. Joe Joyce was horribly robbed of a gold-medal in Rio by incompetent judging, one of the many favourable scorecard France’s Tony Yoka received en route to his place on the top step of the podium. His promoter (David Haye) isn’t wasting any time with the Londoner in the pro’s though and Joyce goes straight in against 12-3-1, Ian Lewison. At 32, Joyce doesn’t really have time to play around. Lewison was deemed good enough to give former Anthony Joshua foe Dillian Whyte a test only 12 months ago, so as debuts go, this really is quite a statement.
Joyce is famed for an unbelievable gas tank and Lewison, to put it bluntly, isn’t. While Lewison will make things uncomfortable early as he’s technically pretty sound for this level, I think Haye’s team have matched their man perfectly and the relentless Joyce will outwork a tiring Lewison late on. It’s not often you’ll find an attractive market in a debut bout, but Joyce rounds 6-10 at 5/4 is the one for me.
Josh Warrington fights Dennis Ceylan on Saturday – see the latest odds here. And for a wide range of boxing markets, check out 32Red Sport here. If you’re up for a flutter on table games or the slots, be sure to check out our award-winning casino too!