Danny Dignum makes a second defence of his WBO European Middleweight title against Andrey Sirotkin at the top of an MTK Global promoted bill at the Bolton Whites Hotel on Saturday.
It’s a tough test for Dignum (13-0, 7 KOs), as he takes on the solid and experienced, Sirotkin (19-1, 7 KOs), over a scheduled ten rounds.
The 29-year-old, currently ranked at five by the WBO is a tall, rangy southpaw, and will be looking to make a statement in 2021 after a quiet 2020, and the Russian should be the acid test that he has been looking for.
A professional since November 2016, the Essex man won his WBO belt in November 2019, stopping Conrad Cummings in five. He then defended in March 2020, dropping the previously unbeaten Alfredo Meli three times on the way to a dominant ninth round stoppage.
The 36-year-old should provide Dignum’s stiffest assignment to date, and he has only been defeated once in a 20-fight career.
That came in October 2018 in London, where he gave John Ryder a stern examination before unravelling and suffering a seventh round stoppage loss.
Sirotkin has rebounded with four wins shared between Russia and Belarus, and he was last out in October 2020, stopping Grant Dennis in eight rounds in Minsk.
Prediction: This could well be a thriller, with Sirotkin representing a real test for Dignum. I think this could be a close contest, and one Dignum may well have to get up off the deck in. I favour him to come through on the scorecards, but it could be a close run affair.
Azeez defends English title against Summers
Heading the undercard is a cracker at Light Heavyweight. English champion, Dan Azeez defends his belt for the second time against experienced Midlander, Ricky Summers.
The contest also serves as an eliminator for the British title, currently held by Craig Richards, who takes on WBA champion, Dmitry Bivol on May 1.
The Lewisham man won the belt in December 2019, widely outscoring Lawrence Osueke, and defended in style, stopping the favoured Andre Sterling in nine in September 2020.
Summers (17-2-1, 6 KOs) lost in a British title tilt on the cards in July 2017 against Frank Buglioni, but his common opponents with Azeez (12-0, 8 KOs) make for telling viewing.
The 33-year-old lost to Sterling in February 2019, and was also held to a draw by Osueke in October of the same year.
He returned with a low key stoppage win in December 2019, but has his hands full here against the 31-year-old.
Prediction: I favour the fresher champion to retain with a stoppage win after halfway.
Bateson faces Ham
Jack Bateson has been one to watch for a while, and he takes a step-up in class over eight at Super Bantamweight against former amateur standout, Joe Ham (16-2, KO6).
Bateson (12-0, 3 KOs) is a big ticket seller in his native Leeds, and will hope to make a breakout in 2021, while 29-year-old Ham (16-2, 6 KOs) has flattered to deceive as a pro.
The Scot is coming off a technical decision loss while well behind on the scorecards against Qais Ashfaq in November 2019, and he was decked in the third round.
Prediction: Bateson should have enough about him to record a points win in this one.
Southampton Light Heavyweight, Lewis Edmondson (4-0, 1 KO) continues his education, and he takes on faded former Commonwealth Super Middleweight champion, Luke Blackledge (26-9-2, 9 KOs).
Prediction: Blackledge is very much in the journeyman phase of his career, and Edmondson should come through on the scorecards.
Paul McCullagh (1-0, 1 KO) should have too much for Antony Woolery (2-3) in their Light Heavyweight meeting and can record an early win, while at Middleweight, Paul Ryan makes his professional debut, where he should take a points win against Kyle Hughes (2-2).
Super Welterweight, Carl Fail (1-0) appears, as does Irish Middleweight, Fearghus Quinn (2-0).