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British Scene: Darren Hamilton vs Curtis Woodhouse & Undercard Preview

Luke Campbell looks to stay unbeaten on Saturday's Hamilton-Woodhouse undercard
Luke Campbell looks to stay unbeaten on Saturday's Hamilton-Woodhouse undercard
Paul Thomas

This Saturday’s Matchroom/Sky show isn't exactly what you'd call a quality line-up, however, the pick of the card is the British title bout between Darren Hamilton and Curtis Woodhouse. Hamilton is looking to win the belt outright whilst Woodhouse is making his second attempt at winning a domestic title.

Woodhouse's first attempt at a title (I'm not counting the English title he's won – it's a good belt and a good stepping stone to bigger things, but it isn't much better than an area title in all honesty) came last year against Derry Mathews for the Commonwealth title at lightweight. Woodhouse had made a solid start and was well in the fight until Mathews unleashed a pole-axing right hand in the fourth round. Woodhouse did well to get to his feet but was clearly in no condition to continue.

Having started his career at welterweight, Woodhouse never really looked suited to fighting at lightweight, he appeared drained at the weigh-in and his punches seemed to lack there usual zestfulness. He should be far better suited fighting at light-welterweight, and although he'll be up against a physically bigger opponent, there shouldn't be much between the pair in terms of physical strength.

The unheralded Hamilton is deceptively good, he doesn't do one thing outstandingly well but he doesn't do anything noticeably bad either. He's a solid all-rounder who makes the most of the height and reach advantages he usually has over opponents, boxing off the back foot early before using his impressive stamina to finish strongly down the stretch.

This fight is the most important of both their careers, and may well end up being the pinnacle for both as well considering Woodhouse has said he'll retire whether he wins or loses and it's doubtful whether Hamilton can go on to bigger things – he seemingly hasn't got a big enough name to get himself in world title contention, unless one of the champions fancies him as a keep busy fight.

People find it easy to write off Woodhouse, they appear to hold his career as a professional footballer against him, either claiming he's not really a natural fighter or that the money he's earned makes him soft when the going gets tough. The reality couldn't be any further away from that. He certainly didn't become a boxer for financial reasons, so it must be down to his love of the sport, and would he have got up from the shot Mathews levelled him with if he hadn't got the hunger and natural fighting instinct inside of him? He's no soft touch, trust me.

Hamilton is the more skilful fighter, and has an awkward style to boot, but Woodhouse has the advantage in knockout power. Hamilton looks to have a solid chin but he has been knocked out once in his career, in the fourth and final round against Daryl Setterfield back in 2010. Setterfield is a bit of a hard man type but doesn't punch as hard as Woodhouse does, and with Hamilton having not fought anyone considered a puncher since that defeat, there still has to be a slight question mark about his punch resistance.

It's fairly obvious as to how the fight will play out. Woodhouse will start as fast as he usually does and Hamilton will cover up and look to counter Woodhouse as he comes in, which he sometimes does too rashly, leaving himself open to straight punches. If Woodhouse fails to take Hamilton out within the first six rounds, it's hard to envisage anything other than Hamilton winning on points. Hamilton should win his share of the early rounds before producing his customary strong finish to take the fight around the 116-112 mark.

The undercard is pretty poor. Luke Campbell continues his development against Scott Moises, who despite his 8-8-1 record is a good lower domestic level operator. Campbell looks to be a superb prospect and should be too good for Moises, a stoppage victory would be impressive but a wide points verdict looks the more likely outcome.

Unbeaten pair Gavin McDonnell and Leigh Wood faces each other in a battle for the vacant British super-bantamweight title. Gavin is looking to follow younger (by 9 minutes) brother Jamie in winning a British title. Wood is a decent operator but McDonnell is the betting favourite for a reason, he's mixed at a better level and should be good enough to win a hard fought but comfortable points decision.

Tommy Coyle faces Daniel Eduardo Brizuela in a fight he should win at a canter. Brizuela isn't bad technically but can be one-paced, he's also a light puncher and allows himself to be bullied by opponents. Coyle should win widely on points.

e-mail Dave Oakes

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