The UK leg of Tyson Fury’s trilogy match with Deontay Wilder takes place at Utilita Arena, Birmingham on Saturday night, with Brad Foster and Jason Cunningham clashing in a decent triple-title main event.
Foster (14-0-2, 5 KOs) puts his British and Commonwealth super bantamweight belts on the line, while Cunningham (29-6, 6 KOs) brings his European strap to the table, live on BT Sport in the UK.
The pair were set to meet in August, however Foster withdrew through injury.
Lichfield’s Foster has converted from kickboxing to the noble art, and the 23-year-old has come on in leaps and bounds as a professional.
‘The Blade’ won the vacant British belt with a points win over Josh Wale in March 2019, and added Ashley Lane’s Commonwealth crown two months later with a last round stoppage win.
Three more defences have followed, and Foster was last seen in March, taking every round of ten to pick up the IBF International title against Alvaro Rodriguez.
A Commonwealth champion at bantamweight and featherweight, Cunningham is in Cinderella Man territory, having won four low key fights in a row after a points loss to Michael Conlan in December 2018.
The 32-year-old started as a firm second favourite in challenging Gamal Yafai for the European belt in May, but the Doncaster man ripped the belt from the Birmingham native, dropping Yafai three times on the way to a famous points win.
Prediction: Cunningham is coming off a career-best win, and he will take great confidence from his victory over Yafai, but Foster is young and fresh, and can take a clear points win here.
Callum Johnson has had his fair share of frustrations in the last few years, with injury and postponements hampering his progress, but the Lincolnshire light heavyweight defends his WBO Global title against Server Emurlaev over a scheduled ten rounds.
Johnson (19-1, 14 KOs) has fought once in the last two-and-a-half years, making the move to Frank Warren’s stable to stop Emil Markic in two rounds in April, but saw a scheduled September date shelved on fight week after headline act, Sunny Edwards was forced out of his maiden IBF flyweight title defence against Jayson Mama through injury.
The 36-year-old wants to keep active in an attempt to secure a second world title shot, after an October 2018 defeat to IBF champion, Artur Beterbiev.
Emurlaev (24-2, 8 KOs) shouldn’t pose too many problems for ‘The One’ and he has lost two of his last four contests, his last a sixth round retirement after losing every session against Kamshybek Kunkabayev in February.
Prediction: The 36-year-old is coming off a split decision win in his last fight, but Johnson should have too much here, and can force a stoppage before the halfway mark.
Essuman defends British & Commonwealth titles
A double title clash on the bill sees Nottingham’s Ekow Essuman defend his British and Commonwealth welterweight titles for the first time against home fighter, Danny Ball.
Essuman (15-0, 6 KOs) impressed in taking the belts from Chris Jenkins in an eighth round stoppage win in July, and ‘The Engine’ will want to kick on with a win against Ball (10-0-1, 4 KOs).
The 25-year-old has one blot on his record, a March 2019 draw with Kaisee Benjamin, and has won two straight since.
Prediction: Essuman should be able to retain on the scorecards.
Davies defends English belt
English bantamweight champion, Liam Davies (10-0, KO5) gets continental opposition, and the Telford man faces Dixon Flores (17-7-3, KO6) for the vacant WBC International Silver super bantamweight title.
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Prediction: Davies is on a run of three straight early wins, and he should extend this here against former world title challenger Flores, who is on the slide, and has been stopped four times in seven defeats.
At super featherweight, Nick Ball (13-0, 6 KOs) should be able to halt Piotr Gudel (10-6-1, 1 KO) inside their scheduled eight round distance, and at welterweight, Owen Cooper (4-0, 1 KO), will likely need all six rounds to see off Des Newton (8-19, 2 KOs).
Also at welterweight, George Davey (4-0) can score a first stoppage win in his six rounder with Dario Borosa (1-14).
At super lightweight, Amaar Akbar (1-0) should get a good four round workout against Liam Richards (12-64, 1 KO).
Ryan Woolridge (1-0) could well need the distance to defeat Paul Cummings (2-52-1), and there’s an appearance for super welterweight, Macauley Owen, who makes his debut against the durable Michael Horbain (2-22), where he can take a points win.