For Eddie Hearn’s first show of the new DAZN era, he has pulled out the stops. Most fights on the card could be considered main events in their own right. I have previewed Artur Beterbiev against Callum Johnson in a separate article, here I concentrate on what the rest of the card has to offer.
The nominal main event features Jessie Vargas (28-2-1, KO10), fresh from an entertaining draw with the brash Adrien Broner in the spring, taking on the rugged Thomas Dulorme (24-3, KO16), with a shot at new WBC Welterweight Champion, Shawn Porter rumoured to be the prize for the winner. Vargas has mixed in good world class for the best part of four years. A former WBA and WBO Super Lightweight World Champion, Vargas’ only losses have come in elite class, to Timothy Bradley in June 2015 (unanimous) and Manny Pacquiao (unanimous) in November 2016. He holds wins over Khabib Allakhverdiev, Antonio DeMarco and Sadam Ali, and looked good in matching Broner, rallying for a share of the spoils back in April.
Dulorme is coming off a loss, a thin one at that, to Yordenis Ugas in August. Dulorme was down twice in the second round, but rallied to drop Ugas in the seventh, before being squeezed out on the cards over ten. He has challenged for world honours before in April 2015. He was well in the contest with pound for pound star, and then WBO Super Lightweight Champion, Terence Crawford, before unravelling in the sixth, down three times and stopped. Everytime Dulorme makes a step up, he is found wanting, and I expect Vargas to get the job done wide enough on the cards.
Doncaster’s Gavin McDonnell (20-1-2, KO5) deservedly mixes again in world class when he challenges for the WBA Super Bantamweight Title on the card against d (25-2-1, KO9). Roman makes the third defence of his Title and is fresh off a unanimous decision win over the previously undefeated Moises Flores in June. He travelled to Japan to win the belt, impressively stopping the 12-0 Champion, Shun Kubo in nine. He backed that up with a defence in Japan too, widely outpointing Ryo Matsumoto in February this year.
McDonnell previously failed in a tilt at the WBC version of the World Title back in February 2017, beaten by majority decision by the impressive Mexican, Rey Vargas, who still holds the belt. McDonnell is unbeaten in four since, and is coming off two impressive wins, snapping the undefeated record of Gamal Yafai in March, before comfortably outpointing Stuart Hall in June. This is a tough ask for the likeable McDonnell, and I fear Roman’s busy work rate will just about trump Gavin’s. I tentatively pick the Californian to retain via tight split decision.
Jarrell Miller (21-0-1, KO18) will hope to keep his name in the frame for Anthony Joshua’s April date at Wembley, when he meets the now fading Pole, Thomas Adamek (53-5, KO31) over ten. “Big Baby” is keen to make as much noise as possible to manoeuvre himself into a World Title shot. In his last three fights, he has beaten fringe contenders in Gerald Washington (RTD 8) Mariusz Wach (TKO9) and Johann Duhaupas (unanimous) and will be expected to put on a show against Adamek.
This is not the same Adamek circa 2006-2008 where he picked up World Titles at Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight, before making an unsuccessful assault at the Heavyweight belts. He was belted to a tenth round stoppage defeat to Vitali Klitschko in 2011, and hasn’t really come too close to a second shot since. He is 4-3 in his last seven contest, including defeats to Vyacheslav Glazgov, Artur Szpilka (both unanimous) and a tenth round knockout defeat at the hands of Eric Molina in his home country in April 2016. He is three unbeaten since, but at a low level.
The pick is Miller to get the job done just after halfway, with Adamek’s ambitions in the sport on the wane.