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Anthony Fowler falls victim to Covid-19, replaced by Robbie Davies Jr

Anthony Fowler vs Jorge Fortea is off, but Robbie Davies Jr vs Gabriel Valenzuela is on

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Anthony Fowler and Robbie Davies Jr (Matchroom Boxing)
Anthony Fowler and Robbie Davies Jr (Matchroom Boxing)

One man’s loss is another man’s gain, though super-welterweight contender Anthony Fowler could be forgiven for being less philosophical after coming down with Covid-1 and being forced off Matchroom’s February 20 Sky Sports show, where he was due to face world-rated Spaniard Jorge Fortea. Replacing the Liverpool man is fellow Merseysider (Kirkby) Robbie Davies Jr, the super-lightweight who makes only his second appearance since a close defeat to Lewis Ritson in October 2019, and subsequently moving to the Ingle Gym in Sheffield.

While his last outing in March 2020 was more of an easing-back affair, Davies Jr has more to gain against 22-2-1 (13) Mexican Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela. The vacant IBF Inter-Continental title is on the line and presumably a good world ranking with that sanctioning body for the victor. It may also prove to be a better fight for the David Avanesyan vs Josh Kelly undercard (find boxing betting odds here), as Fortea had been exposed at a certain level, while Valenzuela’s two defeats came in his first five pro contests and he has gradually stepped up the level of competition since.

The 26-year-old Mexican also fought as recently as September so will be relatively sharp for this 10 or 12-rounder at Wembley Arena and should help us to assess the improvements made by Davies Jr under Dominic Ingle and alongside the likes of Kid Galahad and Liam Williams. A quality technical boxer, rangy Davies Jr has often found himself drawn into brawls in the past that, while great for the fans, do not always suit his style. If Ingle has helped to instil more discipline and ring generalship, Davies Jr remains young enough at 31 to make a dent in the 140lb world scene, especially with an undisputed champion likely to be crowned this year before opportunities open up if and when the Josh Taylor vs Jose Ramirez victor vacates.

As for Fowler, it’s a blow but presuming he recovers well, the Liverpudlian can still make real strides towards world level in 2021.

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