As someone that isn’t really into football, Friday and Saturday nights tend to be when I watch the most sport in the form of boxing and MMA. This weekend I really am buzzing with excitement as there is a whole host of boxing and UFC fights featuring some of our top British fighters. Here is a run down of some the fights happening tonight.
Martin Murray vs. Sergio Martinez
I’ve been looking forward to this fight for what seems like months and months. Having worked with Martin since shortly after his win on Prize Fighter in 2008 this feels like a long time coming, but he now has a second chance at a world title challenging WBC Middleweight World Title superstar Sergio Martinez. Murray has never been beaten, and his only draw was a controversial one against Felix Sturm for the WBA world title in Germany. Never one to take the easy route, the fight with Martinez, who is currently viewed as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, is a homecoming fight in Argentina and he will be keen to put on a show for his fans. Although Martin is viewed as a heavy underdog, especially in light of the fact that his two domestic rivals Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin were both KO’d by Martinez, I believe Martin has a fantastic chance of getting the win. Martinez is 38 years old, and faded late in the fight against Chavez Jr. He was also being out-boxed by both Barker and Macklin and was likely behind on points. Many believe that Barker showed everyone the blueprint of how to beat Martinez, but he lacked the power to earn the respect of the champion. Martin is completely ready for this fight, and you can tell just by looking at his face and his demeanour that he really fancies the job and expects to win. He’s also in the best shape I’ve ever seen him in. Argentina; prepare to be shocked!
You can watch the fight from 2.00am onwards on BoxNation. Note that there is a possibility the fight time may be brought forward. The event is being held at the Velez football stadium, and a heavy thunderstorm has been forecast.
Amir Khan vs. Julio Diaz
Keen to get back into title contention, Amir Khan has a tough challenge ahead in the form of Julio Diaz. The fight is taking place at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena, and is the first time Khan has fought in the UK since April 2011. Many are expecting Khan to win the fight, but the fights you’re expected to win are often the hardest. Diaz is also a noted puncher with 29 KO’s out of 40 wins (a 60% KO rate) so he will be keen to test the chin of Khan which has often been put under scrutiny. Khan is adamant that he has to win the fight, not only for his career and potential world title shots, but because he is still chasing a super fight with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather.
This fight is also being shown on BoxNation from 7.30pm.
Audley Harrison vs. Deontay Wilder
Audley Harrison is still going, in yet another comeback after looking like dynamite in his last outing on Prizefighter. Many thought his career was over on multiple occasions, most recently after a devastating first round KO against David Price, but he can’t be kept down and still has unfinished business and is desperate to have a world title belt. Deontay Wilder is a hot American heavyweight prospect, standing 6’7″ tall and undefeated with 27 wins and 27 knockouts. However many believe that he hasn’t been tested yet in his career and needs to step up to the next level. Until he does it’s difficult to gauge just how talented he is. Although Audley gets some stick, the British public get behind him as the underdog and will always cheer when he shows heart in the ring. A few performances he’s had where he has switched off mid-fight, or hasn’t been aggressive enough has tarnished his reputation. But Audley is a talented, Olympic gold medalist with a big left hand. Should be an exciting one!
This fight is taking place on the undercard of the Amir Khan fight on BoxNation.
Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher
Tonight UFC 159 is also being televised, and there are some British MMA fighters on the card including Manchester’s very own Michael Bisping. Bisping is always entertaining both inside the octagon, and outside. At the UFC weigh in he accused his opponent Alan Belcher of “sh**ting himself” which led to a little bit of pushing and shoving, to which Bisping continued with “what the f**k was that?”. It will be very interesting to see how this fight goes as Belcher considers himself to be a top kickboxer, as does Bisping, so it could be stand up fight. However I would expect Bisping to take Belcher down and administer some serious ground and pound as well. Bisping has also been knocked out a few times in his career, which isn’t necessarily a sign of a weak chin when you’re fighting with 4oz gloves on, more a case of walking into shots. I expect that Belcher will be looking for a big haymaker to end the night early.
This fight is taking place from 2am on ESPN.
Best of the rest
Haroon Khan and Anthony Ogogo are making their professional debuts on the Amir Khan undercard. Both show a lot of promise so it’s great to have them join the professional ranks and see how they adapt. Welsh bomber Gary Buckland is fighting on the Murray vs. Martinez undercard out in Argentina for a vacant WBC silver featherweight title. His domestic rival, Dewsbury’s finest Gary Sykes is also fighting for an English title in Sheffield.
Non-British fight choice
I’m a big fan of UFC and the Ultimate Fighter TV show, and the headline of UFC 159 is Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen for the light heavyweight world title. I really like Jon Jones, and I used to despise Chael Sonnen, but the Ultimate Fighter show revealed completely different sides to their personalities that I had never seen before. As such I’m now more pro-Sonnen than Jones, and I always route for the underdog. Again, Jones is expected to win this fight but if Chael can pull off a big performance like he did against Anderson Silva, then this could be a great, competitive fight. I can’t wait.
So who do you think will win, and who do you want to win? Did I miss anyone out?