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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Boxing Picks 2017- Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko (April 29th)

There is plenty to suggest this is the biggest Heavyweight fight we have seen in a generation since Lennox Lewis beat Mike Tyson back in 2002 as Anthony Joshua tries to underline his status as the future of the Division.

Of course he can't really count himself as the Number 1 fighter until he takes on two others who feel entitled to walk around and call themselves the best Heavyweight in the world. The first is Deontay Wilder, who will be at ringside but likely setting up a WBC defence against Tony Bellew for Autumn, while the other is Tyson Fury, the lineal World Champion, who is back after a long fight against depression and other personal decisions.

Those fights are for another day though as a defeat in this one will reset the Joshua bandwagon, while his opponent Wladimir Klitschko is trying to prove that his defeat to Tyson Fury was nothing more than a 'bad day in the office'.

It makes it an intriguing fight on Saturday with the two men both having plenty on the line, while you can't argue against the interest in the fight which has seen 90,000 tickets sold to event at Wembley Stadium.

The undercard isn't much to write home about and the main event is expected in the ring no later than 10pm UK time in what should be another huge boxing occasion for fans in this country.

Luke Campbell vs Darleys Perez
The most important fight on the undercard has to be the one between Luke Campbell and Darleys Perez with the winner moving on to the big fights like Jorge Linares and Mikey Garcia in this Lightweight Division.

In all honesty this fight is very much about Luke Campbell continuing his progress to a World title shot as his career has been rebuilt after a surprise loss to Yvan Mendy. He has won four fights since that shock loss and Cool Hand Luke has won three of those by KO/TKO while this is a chance for him to prove he needs to be moved up to the next level.

His opponent is one that people in the United Kingdom will recognise in Darleys Perez who fought Anthony Crolla twice. The fist time he got away with a very controversial Draw before being stopped in a rematch and the Colombian has been struggling to make weight which can't help his cause.

It was the left hook to the body which put Perez away in his rematch with Crolla and that is a punch that Campbell enjoys throwing and could be a difference maker if weight issues have been affecting Perez.

I very much expect Campbell to produce an impressive win and that means earning the stoppage as Crolla did against Perez. The latter is a tough customer, but I do wonder if he has the belief to win this fight and Campbell will want to show the watching Linares, who will be at ringside on Saturday, that he is ready to take that fight next if Linares is unable to make a deal to fight Mikey Garcia in a Unification fight.

The left going into the body is likely going to be the punch that wins this fight for Campbell and I will just look for him to earn the stoppage. I expect that to happen at some time in the middle Rounds, but it's not easy to pinpoint exactly when so I will back Campbell to secure the stoppage at some point over the twelve Rounds.

Scott Quigg vs Viorel Simion
A broken jaw in his first professional defeat to Carl Frampton in February 2016 means this is only the second fight Scott Quigg has had in that time. He had enough time to evaluate where he wanted his career to go and that meant making a big decision to join Freddie Roach in the Wild Card Gym in California and now Quigg is looking to improve and perhaps work his way into a position to have a rematch with Frampton.

That is the fight that will be the one Quigg wants to the most, but Roach will be looking to remind him that he has to keep putting the wins together to get into that position.

This is a tough fight against a rugged Romanian Viorel Simion who has only been beaten once when being comfortably outpointed by Lee Selby in his one and only career loss. He doesn't really have the names on the record that will intimidate Quigg though and it is up to the British fighter to prove he belongs at a higher level by surpassing the style of win that Selby produced against Simion.

That fight was in July 2013 and Simion is now 35 years old and Quigg is the kind of fighter who can step on the gas and finish this fight inside the distance. 24 of his 32 wins have come inside the distance and I think Quigg will put the pressure on Simion and eventually wear him down regardless of how tough the Romanian is.

The pressure is likely to tell in the second half of the fight, and Quigg did stop Jose Cayetano in his last fight. Cayetano had previously not been stopped and I do think Quigg hits harder than perhaps some think with his record indicating power, while he has the energy to keep working throughout the 12 Rounds.

I do think Quigg is going to want to earn the stoppage where Selby failed and I think it would be a big surprise if Simion is broken down early. A small interest on the stoppage coming in the second half of the fight looks to be worth backing with the points being the most likely outcome.

However I could see Quigg just turn up the gas on Simeon in the final three or four Rounds to force the referee to intervene as he looks to take another step forward on his comeback from the Frampton setback.

Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
This is a huge Heavyweight Unification fight between a man many consider could be the face of the Division for the next few years in Anthony Joshua facing the man who has been the face of the Division for the last few years in Wladimir Klitschko.

Well it is Wladimir Klitschko coming off a seventeen month lay off and off his first defeat in 11 years when he was bamboozled and outpointed by Tyson Fury. A stunning win for the British fighter in Germany was followed by Fury suffering with personal problems and yet to fight again, while the Heavyweight title was fractured.

Two of those belts are on the line here and the question is whether Klitschko has anything left in the tank. Being rocked by Kubrat Pulev before finishing him off, having a boring Decision against Bryant Jennings and then the loss to Fury in his last three fights doesn't exactly inspire confidence in Klitschko even if he is saying all of the right things in the build up to the fight.

However this is going to be a different kind of fight for Klitschko as AJ is not going to try and confuse him as much as Fury did nor will he look to move and defend for 12 Rounds as Jennings did. Klitschko has come in light and you can imagine that he is looking to stay out of the way of Joshua for at least the first four to six Rounds and then try and take control of the fight with his experience.

I am a Joshua fan and I do like the way he has been developing, but there are still some questions for him to answer. The movement is not always the best and Joshua has yet to go beyond seven Rounds in any fight he has had professionally, while his record doesn't have anyone close to the level of Wladimir Klitschko on it.

However this could be all about timing and I think Eddie Hearn has put in his man because they do feel Klitschko has lost something. The heaviness that Joshua comes in at suggests he is going to come forward and look to land something on Klitschko very early in this fight and I have had a feeling about the fight for a few months since it was announced.

That feeling was simply either AJ is going to win this one relatively early or Klitschko did have more than anticipated and can walk Joshua onto something very big in the second half of the fight when the younger man potentially tires a little bit.

Nothing has changed in the weigh-in to make me change my mind and I think this is a fight that Anthony Joshua has to get done very quickly or he could be in a whole heap of trouble. Klitschko can punch and I think he will be looking to stay out of the way early and see whether he can out-vet AJ in the second half of the fight.

I'm going to back both situations here with a couple of units on Joshua getting this done inside the first six Rounds and a unit on Klitschko getting it done in the second half of the fight. I really think it is either Joshua early or Klitschko late and backing both will produce a profit if one of the two situations come through.

Early on the punching power of Joshua is going to be very dangerous and we will quickly see how much the younger Klitschko has left in the tank. However I still think Joshua's movement will be a liability in the second half of the fight if he hasn't got Klitschko out of there and the punching power of the latter could prove to be much more dangerous at that time and so picking both options looks the way to go.

I can't wait for this one.

MY PICKS: Luke Campbell by KO, TKO or Disqualification @ 1.73 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Scott Quigg Win Between 7-12 @ 4.00 William Hill (1 Unit)
Anthony Joshua Win Between 1-6 @ 3.30 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Wladimir Klitschko Win Between 7-12 @ 9.00 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)

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