It’s a Newcastle takeover this Saturday night at Utilita Arena, with an array of talent on show, and Savannah Marshall defending her WBO middleweight title for the second time at the top of the bill against Lolita Muzeya of Zambia, live on Sky Sports.
Hartlepool’s Marshall (10-0, 8 KOs) is a precocious talent, and is flourishing as a world champion.
The 30-year-old is looking to add further belts to her collection, and also has an eye on her old amateur rival, Claressa Shields, the three-weight unified world champion that she defeated in the unpaid code.
The pair have exchanged barbs ever since, but with Shields currently dipping her toes in the MMA waters, it could be a while before the pair collide.
Marshall won the vacant belt she will be defending in October last year, breaking down the brave Hannah Rankin in seven rounds.
She has defended once since, knocking out late replacement Maria Lindberg in three in April. Before she can think about more honours and rivalries, ‘The Silent Assassin’ must deal with Muzeya (16-0, 8 KOs).
The Zambian’s record isn’t a too impressive one, and she has never previously fought outside of Africa. Her last three opponents have had a combined record of 15-16-3, with her last contest a one round knockout of Happy Daudi in Namibia back in January.
Prediction: Marshall is a real talent, and will be looking to continue her dominance as a world champion here. Muzeya is an unknown quantity, but is undefeated, and that has to be respected. Marshall is on a different level to her opponent, and she should be able to force a late stoppage.
Fury faces Hammer
There is also heavyweight action on the card, as Hughie Fury (25-2, 14 KOs) takes on the respected Christian Hammer (26-7, 16 KOs) over twelve.
Hughie, cousin of WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson has often flattered to deceive when stepping up in class, illustrated in his three defeats to Joseph Parker in a WBO title tilt in 2017, and also to Kubrat Pulev and Alexander Povetkin, where Fury fought within himself, but gained vital experience.
The 27-year-old is unbeaten in two since the Povetkin reverse, and routed Mariusz Wach last December over ten in his last bout. Hammer is durable, and has recently gone the distance with Povetkin, Luis Ortiz and Tony Yoka.
Prediction: As long as Fury sticks to his boxing, he should take a comfortable enough points win.
Eubank Jr clashes with Awdijan
A packed undercard sees Chris Eubank Jr in action just two weeks after his contest with Anatoly Muratov was shelved at the eleventh hour due to the board rejecting the German, who stepped in for Sven Elbir at just days’ notice, on medical grounds.
Eubank Jr (30-2, 22 KOs), who fights for the second time under trainer, Roy Jones Jr gets a third different opponent in the North East, with Armenian-born German, Wanik Awdijan (28-1, 11 KOs) the new man in the opposite corner for a scheduled ten rounder at super middleweight.
The 26-year-old has a heavily padded record, although he hasn’t lost since 2014. His last outing was in July, where he scraped to a split decision win over the 4-0 Iago Kiziria, and he shouldn’t cause Eubank too many problems here.
Prediction: The Brighton man should score a win inside the first few frames.
Ritson looks to bounce back against Lundy
Local hero, Lewis Ritson looks to rebuild for a second time, and he gets a tricky assignment against respected gatekeeper, Henry ‘Hank’ Lundy. It’s set for eight at super lightweight.
Ritson (21-2, 12 KOs) was on a run of four straight wins at ten stone after a 2018 loss to Francesco Patera at lightweight, but then ran into Jeremias Nicolas Ponce in June, and the Argentine handed Ritson a tenth round stoppage defeat in his hometown, dropped three times in all.
Lundy (31-9-1, 14 KOs) has been in with and lost to some great fighters, and challenged for the WBO belt in 2016, stopped in five by the gifted Terence Crawford.
The 37-year-old American is 2-3 in his last five outings, the last a points loss over ten to Jose Zepeda in May.
Prediction: Ritson may need all eight rounds to take the win on the cards here.
Rea meets Smith
A well made match at middleweight sees Lancashire’s Bradley Rea (10-0, 4 KOs) tackle Jez Smith over eight.
Smith (13-3-1, 6 KOs) was unfortunate to be stopped in seven by Kerman Lajarraga in April, having dropped the Spaniard twice during the contest, but has returned with a win since.
Prediction: Rea hasn’t tasted defeat yet, and this will be his toughest test to date, and I expect him to come through, but it could be by the tightest of margins.
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April Hunter (4-0) puts her unbeaten record on the line over four at welterweight against Kirstie Bavington (4-2-2, 2 KOs), who should see the final bell in defeat.
Middlesbrough’s Michael Webster (5-0, 3 KOs) can make it knockout number four in his cruiserweight contest with Jone Volau (5-6, 2 KOs) in their scheduled six rounder, and at heavyweight, Newcastle’s Steve Robinson (3-0, 2 KOs) can also get an early night’s work against Reece Barlow (0-1).
Mark Dickinson makes his professional debut, and the Birtley middleweight may need all six rounds to see off Slovakia’s, Michal Gazdik (6-14, 4 KOs), who has only been halted once.