Whyte v Chisora II – Undercard Previews & Predictions
Compared to its BT Sport Box Office counterpart, the Sky Box Office undercard isn’t quite as good. There are, however, still some intriguing matches that have been made for Eddie Hearn’s pre-Christmas offering at the O2 Arena.
Charlie Edwards (13-1, KO6) challenges for a version of the World Title for a second time in his fledgling fourteen fight career. His shot this time is at the WBC Flyweight Title, held by the Nicaraguan banger, Cristofer Rosales (28-3, KO19). Edwards failed in a September 2016 attempt to annex the IBF Title from John Riel Casimero at the O2. This was only Edwards’ ninth paid outing, and it showed, with Filipino Casimero stopping him in ten rounds. Edwards has since claimed British and WBA Continental Titles at Super Flyweight, so quite how he receives a shot at Rosales is unclear.
Rosales is maturing into a decent World Champion. The Managua native lost to Kal Yafai, the WBA Super Flyweight Champion over eight competitive rounds back in March 2015, and it seemed like he’d found his level. He won thirteen straight contests in his homeland to set up a meeting with Andrew Selby in May 2017. He knocked the talented Welshman down in the opener, but was comfortably beaten on the cards. Three straight wins put Rosales back in contention, and he travelled to Japan for a shot at the vacant WBC Title against home fighter, Daigo Higa in April this year.
Higa failed to make weight, and Rosales made him pay, lifting the belt with a ninth round stoppage victory. He has defended once, travelling again, this time to Irishman, Paddy Barnes’ home town of Belfast in August. Barnes came into the fight a five fight novice, despite his glittering amateur background. He was no match for Rosales, who uncorked a peach of a body shot to knock Barnes out in the fourth.
Edwards for me, is still a bit green for this level, and Rosales is in a rich vein of form. I think body work could again be the key for Cristofer, and I expect, after a spirited charge from the challenger, his effort will come to a heart breaking end in around nine rounds.
Ryan Walsh (22-2-2, KO11) attempts to restart his stalling career when he defends his British Featherweight Title against Reece Bellotti (13-1, KO11). It’s no fault of Walsh’s own, he just hasn’t managed to find a regular promoter, which is strange for a reigning British Champion. He has held it for three years now, and owns it outright, seemingly holding onto it as a bargaining chip for financial reasons.
Cromer based Walsh captured the Title in September 2015, with a split decision win over Samir Mouneimne at the Wembley Arena. He impressively defended with a pair of fifth round stoppages against Darren Traynor and recent World Title challenger, James Tennyson. He then travelled to Denmark in an attempt to win the vacant European Title, but was unfortunate to be on the wrong end of a home town split decision verdict. He returned to stop Marco McCullough in eleven in May last year in defence of the British Title. His last outing was back in February, where he had to settle for a three way split draw with Isaac Lowe.
Bellotti comes into this in a year where he suffered his first professional defeat. The Watford man was a rising star, and he won the Commonwealth Title in October last year with a sixth round stoppage against Jason Cunningham. He defended impressively against Ben Jones in February with another sixth round win, before he was stunned by Ryan Doyle in June in five rounds in an unexpected reverse at the York Hall. He returned in October with a sixth round run out, and he now gets a chance at Walsh’s coveted Title.
Walsh is an awkward stylist, and big for the weight. Bellotti still is in the early stages of his career, and may find Walsh a tough nut to crack at this point in time. This may turn into a messy affair, but my pick is for Walsh to retain on the cards.
At Heavyweight, a man who is currently a permanent resident in the last chance saloon, knows there is no way back if defeated this Saturday. Liverpool’s likeable “Big Un”, David Price (22-6, KO18), again puts his career, and possibly health, on the line, in an eight rounder against Hatfield’s area level operator, Tom Little (10-6, KO3).
Defeat for Price surely spells the end of a frustrating professional career. A 2008 Olympic Bronze medallist in Beijing, Price started brightly enough when turning over the same year, as a British and Commonwealth Champion. The step up proved too severe though, as former World Title challenger, Tony Thompson derailed Price in two rounds in February 2013. If this was seen as a blip, Thompson repeated the trick in an immediate rematch five months later.
Although Price knocked Thompson down in the second, he alarmingly ran out of gas, and was stopped in five. Price won four on the bounce at a much lower level, before Erkan Teper iced him in two rounds in Germany in a challenge for the European Title. Teper tested positive for a banned substance post fight, as did Thompson after the rematch, but both results somehow stood. Two baby step fights followed, before a similar story. Price met Christian Hammer at London’s Olympia. Price was again in control, knocking Hammer down in round five, before the petrol tank again emptied. Hammer pummelled the lifeless Scouser to defeat in the seventh.
The form hasn’t been great since. After another comeback win against limited opposition in Kamil Sokolowski, Price agreed to take on Alexander Povetkin in Cardiff in March this year. One thing Price has in his arsenal is an equaliser, and, after being knocked down in the third, he roared back to force the Russian to take a count at the end of the same round, with only the ropes holding Povetkin up. It sadly wasn’t to be for Price, as he was brutally knocked out in the fifth. In his last fight, Price took on the unbeaten Sergey Kuzmin at Wembley Stadium in September. Price was more than in the fight, but admitted he had come into the fight injured, and retired after four rounds with a bicep injury.
Tom “Not So” Little will see his meeting with Price as a massive opportunity. Little failed in an August 2016 challenge for the Southern Area Title, losing by two points to Dominic Akinlade at the York Hall. His last two outings have been firmly as the opponent. Highly touted Croatian, Filip Hrgovic put Little away in four in Latvia in January, while he took Daniel Dubois five rounds before being stopped in June in a challenge for the English Title.
If Price can’t negotiate this test, retirement surely beckons. At this level, Price remains a massive puncher, and I see him getting rid of Little within three rounds.
Joshua Buatsi (8-0, KO6) gets another test of his credentials as he meets Australian former IBO Super Middleweight Champion Reynold Quinlan (12-3, KO8) in defence of his WBA International Title at Light Heavyweight in a ten rounder. Quinlan is best remembered for shipping his Title to Chris Eubank Junior in a tenth round stoppage defeat in February last year. He has had two fights since, winning a four rounder in the opener, and in his last outing, he was stopped in nine by domestic rival, Damien Hooper in Brisbane, despite having his man down twice in the fifth. Buatsi is impressing more and more with each fight. In his last contest he destroyed respected operator Tony Averlant in a round, and a win over Quinlan would be another good name on the CV. I think Buatsi will impress in stopping the Aussie before halfway.