Danny Flexen rates Smith vs Ryder (Matchroom Boxing) and Midlands Mayhem (Frank Warren), to pick a winner
This is the first of at least a two-part series, as I analyse the shows put on by UK promotional heavyweights Matchroom Boxing and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions in the remainder of 2019.
We start with November and pit Eddie Hearn’s Callum Smith vs John Ryder Liverpool card against Warren’s Midlands Mayhem in Birmingham. We analyse the top three fights and then the ’rest’ of the card, giving each a mark out of 5. These ratings are based on level of fight, name value of the boxers involved and, of course, likely competitiveness. The highest total wins.
Matchroom Boxing Nov 23 Liverpool
Callum Smith vs John Ryder
A world title fight but, with all due respect to Ryder, one few are expecting to be competitive. I believe it will be more hard-fought that people envisage but it’s still not amazing and ultra-talented Smith should be a bigger star.
James Tennyson vs Craig Evans
An excellent European-level scrap between in-form lightweights, one an aggressive puncher and the other a busy boxer.
Craig Glover vs Chris Billam-Smith
A cruiserweight clash where both men are young and talented but only shortly removed from defeat, but still intriguing. Highly touted local Glover lost for the second time, in March in a big upset, while Billam Smith was edged out by Richard Riakporhe in July.
Anthony Fowler vs unbeaten Harry Scarff could be a low-key stormer, while Tom Farrell vs Sean Dodd guarantees crowd interest and excitement.
Queensberry Promotions Nov 30 Birmingham
Zolani Tete vs John Riel Casimero
A superb world title fight hampered only by the lack of UK celebrity among the participants and memories of Casimero’s shock defeat to Jonas Sultan. Tete, WBO champ and an ex-titlist at super-fly, is one of the best bantams in the world, and Casimero, the only man to defeat Charlie Edwards, is a former two-weight ruler on a winning run of four.
Sam Bowen vs Anthony Cacace
The British super-featherweight title is at stake between perpetually improving champion Bowen and rangy southpaw banger Cacace, who has only lost a tight one to Martin J Ward. Their styles look problematic for each other.
Chris Jenkins vs Liam Taylor
A pair of low-profile grafters meet here for Jenkins’ British welter belt. Expect a distance fight, barring cuts, and hopefully the victor nails down a big fight.
Lerrone Richards vs Lennox Clarke (vacant British title at super-middle) and Sam Maxwell vs Connor Parker are very good trade fights, while we get another chance to see hot prospect Dennis McCann.
Warren edges it by virtue of the better world title main event.