clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

British Scene: Echo Undercard Preview - DeGale vs Periban, Quigg vs Otake, McDonnell vs Chacon & More

Scott Heavey/Getty Images

The undercard for Saturday night's Echo Arena show is pretty much a showcase for Matchroom's stable of fighters. There aren't any bouts that you'd class as a pick'em but there are a couple that are intriguing and another couple that are well-timed and well judged development fights.

Whilst there are two WBA title fights on the bill, the most intriguing bout is James DeGale’s fight with Marco Antonio Periban. The Mexican is no walkover, having lost only twice in 23 fights and being ranked highly enough by the WBC to know that a shock win over DeGale could put him in the mix for a world title fight.

DeGale is by far the better fighter technically but Periban showed in his losses against Sakio Bika and J'Leon Love that he's not a fighter that folds easily. It'll be interesting to see how DeGale deals with a fighter who looks like he'll be throwing punches for the full twelve rounds. The Brit has had issues in the past when being unable to take an opponent out or being unable to gain complete control, most notably against Piotr Wilczewski, who he struggled to shine against before eking out a majority decision.

DeGale looks top class when he's allowed to box the way he wants, when he's unable to do that he has a bad habit of losing concentration and sitting on the ropes too much. That was something people were worried he'd do last time out against Brandon Gonzales. Instead, DeGale turned in one of the best performances of his career, outclassing Gonzales before impressively and ruthlessly taking the American out in the fourth round.

It's hard to see DeGale stopping Periban, who, if memory serves me right, hasn't been on the canvas during his career. If he does get a stoppage it'll be an eye-catching performance, although the most likely outcome is a DeGale points victory.

The other intriguing match-up sees Scott Quigg defend his WBA title against the relatively unknown Japanese fighter Hidenori Otake. From the little footage I've seen of Otake he looks to be as tough as old boots, although taking Quigg's punches will be a much bigger test for him than taking Takafumi Nakajima's, who he had a war with last time out when making the fourth defence of his Japanese title.

Otake looks to be decent technically if occasionally open to uppercuts. I can't see him out-boxing Quigg though, who is a level above in terms of ability and has an excellent boxing brain. Quigg usually smashes through anyone who can't gain his respect, it's a shame Otake doesn’t seem to possess much punch power, it would be a much better test if he did.

Quigg will put the pressure on early to see how Otake reacts. If Otake's tough enough to take Quigg's shots then the Bury man should be able to adapt and box his way to a points victory.  My gut feeling is that Quigg will be too big and strong though and that his vicious body punching should get his foe out inside 6 rounds.

The other WBA title bout is Jamie McDonnell's against Javier Nicolas Chacon. Chacon is a late replacement for Walberto Ramos and isn't expected to push McDonnell. The Argentinian lost widely on points to Anselmo Moreno earlier this year and can expect to be on the end of a similar defeat here against McDonnell, who is at least getting in a much needed fight to sharpen his tools for bigger tests next year.

Callum Smith meets Nikola Sjekloca over 12 rounds in what's a perfect piece of matchmaking. Sjekloca is renowned for having a granite chin, is experienced, crafty and has good name value having taken Arthur Abraham the distance and boxing well in the process earlier this year in Germany.

Smith already looks to be closing in on a world title fight despite only being a pro for two years, an impressive win here would move him another step along that pathway. Sjekloca hasn't got the punch power to seriously threaten Smith, and despite being a decent boxer, he hasn't got the necessary skills to out-box Smith, who should be able to win widely on the cards.

George Groves faces Denis Douglin over twelve, although I'd be surprised if the fight went the distance. Douglin comes to fight, and whilst it will be entertaining whilst it lasts, Groves packs too much power for Douglin to stand up against. The finish should come inside six rounds, like Douglin's two previous defeats have.

Anthony Joshua continues his busy year when he faces Michael Sprott over ten rounds. Sprott isn't anywhere near the fighter he was years ago when he was constantly in the mix at domestic title level and will do well to make it past two rounds here. Kali Meehan levelled Sprott inside a round earlier this year, Sprott was caught repeatedly by a number of ponderous looking overhand rights and crumbled to the floor twice in a horrible looking fight between two formerly decent boxers. It's not going to be pretty seeing what Joshua does to Sprott.

The other two fights that round the card off are Vincent Feigenbutz having a good learning fight against the experienced and durable Lorenzo Di Giacomo and Bradley Saunders making his Matchroom debut against Ivans Levickis.

At 19 years of age, Feigenbutz has bags of raw potential and is maturing nicely. He's already been a pro for three years and has overcome an early defeat to string together fourteen victories since, thirteen of which have come inside the distance. Di Giacomo should be able to last a few rounds but Feigenbutz should have enough to force a late stoppage in what is his first bout outside of his native Germany.

Saunders shouldn't have any problems against Levickis, who has fought in the United Kingdom eight times before, winning just the once and being stopped four times in the other seven losing bouts.

Saunders has left Frank Warren in search of big fights and hopefully Matchroom will provide them in the near future. Saunders turns 29 early next year and can't afford to spend too long working his way towards British title level. Willie Limond is the current British champion and Saunders is more than ready to face the winner of Limond versus Chris Jenkins which takes place early next year.

e-mail Dave Oakes

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bad Left Hook Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your global boxing news from Bad Left Hook