It’s the weekend of the #BattleOfTheBaddest in Saudi Arabia, as the heavyweight kings of boxing and MMA meet for one of the sport’s strangest crossover events.
Can the Cameroonian-French superstar turn the boxing landscape on its head with a monster upset?
He’s priced as an 8/1 underdog in Riyadh, but we’ve seen bigger shocks over the years...
Short and sweet?
Considering Tyson Fury is claiming to be fighting Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title as soon as December (TBC***), it’s hard to imagine the “Gypsy King” putting himself in any harms way against Ngannou on Saturday.
The boxing champ is 2/11 to win via KO/TKO or Disqualification and it’s very hard to form an argument against this pick despite how short the price is.
Since teaming up with SugarHill Steward in 2019, Fury has registered four stoppage victories in four outings and has looked more and more destructive in the process.
So, how quickly can Fury get the job done? He’s unlikely to toy with Ngannou at the risk of picking up an unfortunate cut pre-Usyk, so if he decides to walk the MMA star down, this could be over inside the first three or four rounds.
Round three is priced at 8/1 and round four at 7/1 – these are the two rounds we’d be focussing on.
Ngannou’s unorthodox approach will be his biggest threat in the fight.
He has never contested an official boxing bout and his punching angles and attacks will be like nothing Fury has seen before.
So saying that, there is a chance he will be able to squeeze a few punches through, but turning over his punches correctly and damaging a man that has been through three fights with Deontay Wilder is unlikely.
9/1 for Ngannou to stop Fury is probably not big enough of a price to back even if you are signing up to the theory of a ‘puncher’s chance’.
Two or more knockdowns for Fury at 10/11 is probably the pick of the lot, assuming the underdog refuses to quit.
No love lost
On the undercard in Saudi Arabia is a tasty contest for the British heavyweight title between Fabio Wardley and David Adeleye.
Blood was spilt as they clashed at the original press conference, meaning this fight has gathered more and more momentum as the weeks have gone on.
Fabio Wardley is the big favourite at 3/10, and considering his experience it’s probably the sensible pick.
David Adeleye is a 5/2 underdog and at 12-0 is yet to contest anything on the scale of Saturday night’s fight.
But what Adeleye does have is power. He has stopped 11 of his 12 opponents and is 15/4 to get a KO/TKO/Disqualification win over Wardley.
Wardley is a smart and savvy fighter who is growing into the domestic scene well.
He has won every fight by stoppage since his debut and we think he’ll be capable of dragging Adeleye into deep waters and stopping him – 4/6 is your price for a Wardley KO.
Shock and awe
O’Shaquie Foster defends his WBC super-featherweight title in the wee hours of Sunday morning against Rocky Hernandez – many are picking this as the fight of the weekend.
Foster is travelling to Mexico to fight in Hernandez’s backyard and opens up as a 4/7 favourite to defend his green and gold title.
The American won his strap earlier this year against Rey Vargas and has been given a tough operator in his first defence.
Hernandez is a typically tough Mexican opponent with a vicious left hook, but we are expecting “Shock” Foster’s boxing smarts to prevail.
He’s terrific off the back foot and technically sound, meaning a points victory for Foster at 10/11 is our pick of the week.
On Friday night Amanda Serrano and Danila Ramos dive into the world of 12 x 3-minute rounds, and it’s hard to see Ramos seeing through all 36 minutes.
The challenger has just one stoppage on her record and the additional time will allow Serrano to work through her repertoire en route to a stoppage win.
The Puerto Rican is 8/11 to stop Ramos, which is actually a good price considering she is 1/25 to retain her titles.