Tony Bellew’s first defence of his WBC Cruiserweight title was never going to be a hard sell. The Evertonian’s brash, but straight talking nature, makes this clash with an American rival, and friend of David Haye a marketable fight for any casual fan this weekend. Lets take a look at everything you need to know ahead of Bellew vs Flores.
Bellew vs Flores Preview and Prediction
But at 37-years old, BJ Flores – real name Benjamin – has yet to reach the height of world class boxing, and he is unlikely to realise that potential in fight number 36.
Flores 32-2-1(20KO’s) has mixed with fringe world champions Beibut Shumenov – like Bellew a former Light Heavyweight – and Danny Green, losing to the pair of them on points.
But this is a first legitimate world title fight for the fighter born in San Francisco, and in Bellew he is taking on a fighter full of self confidence in front of his home crowd.
Bellew 27-2-1 (17KO’s) came back from a first round knockdown to spark Ilunga Makabu (TKO 3) in stunning fashion at Goodison Park. And since losing his second world title bid at Light Heavyweight to Adonis Stevenson (L TKO 6) he has been active at Cruiserweight, winning 7 fights in just over 2 years – 5 by knockout.
While Bellew has power in either hand, Flores is a resilient force, and a natural Cruiserweight fighter. Therefore, a points victory is more likely to be on the cards than a stoppage for Bellew.
Setting a pace that Flores cannot withstand, will allow for Tony to take control early, stomping his authority with his most convincing rounds in the middle stanza of the fight. Flores can stick with it until the end, where Bellew will be declared a wide points winner.
Bellew vs Flores Undercard Action
While the main attraction may be lacking as a competitive match-up, the undercard has several fights that will draw a large amount of interest.
Luke Campbell 14-1 (11KO’s) is looking to build on back-to-back wins, but will face a sterner test than in those previous fights, as he faces live-wire Derry Mathews 38-10-2 (20KO’s).
Gary Sykes retired recently after, with that 2nd round defeat to Campbell being his final fight. While Robert Easter Jr – now IBF Lightweight champion – showed that Argenis Mendez’s better days were behind him when he halted the Dominican Republic fighter prior to Campbell’s one-sided points win.
But in that fight, Campbell’s defence was found wanting early on – and not for the first time – as he was dropped by Mendez. If Luke cannot sort out his feet with Mathews, then the repercussions would be far worse than that defeat to Yvan Mendy (L SD 12).
Mathews proved he was far from finished when he pushed Terry Flanagan all the way in March for the WBO Lightweight crown, and he will give the same account for himself on Saturday too.
Mathews seems more defensively sound after his first 7 defeats all came by way of knockout, and that should help him against the speed and natural power of Campbell.
An impressive stoppage win for Campbell would really light a fire under the Lightweight division. But after being unable to hurt Mendez in July, I can’t see him having the power to halt Mathews here. A points win for Luke is far more likely.
Ryan Burnett 14-0(9KO’s) makes the first defence of the British Bantamweight title he won against Jason Booth (UD 12) last year.
Burnett has won twice in between – both points triumphs – but now faces the unorthodox Ryan Farrag 16-2(4KO’s) in the challenger’s backyard.
Farrag has an impressive resume, losing early in his career to Lee Haskins in the Prizefighter, while also handing out defeats to Booth (TKO 4), Ashley Lane (TKO 7) and Stephane Jamoye (TKO 9).
But defeat to Karim Guerfi (L TKO 3) highlighted the vulnerabilities in Farrag’s game.
A quality boxer, Burnett seems to have the style to cause the sometimes wild Farrag all sorts of mischief.
The Jamoye victory was impressive, but the Belgian is unpredictable and fights in a similar high pace frenzy as Farrag.
The more polished Burnett should stay clear of the early assaults before taking more chances as the fight wears on, looking to force a stoppage that he just might claim in or around the 10th.
There are two other fascinating match-ups as Tom Farrell 9-0(2KO’s) looks to back-up a points win over Kofi Yates with a win over the unknown Belgian, Farid Hakimi 9-1(5KO’s).
While Simon Vallily takes a large step up in class when he faces Mairis Briedis – Bellew’s mandatory challenger – over 10 at Cruiserweight.
Briedis 20-0(17KO’s) is a hard-hitting Latvian who demolished Manuel Charr (KO 5) last year with a vicious uppercut.
Middlesbrough’s Vallily 9-0(2KO’s) will box well early on, but may find himself out of his comfort zone too early, succumbing in 6 rounds.
Bellew vs Flores Event Fight Time, TV Channel and Live Stream Info
TV Channel: Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports 2.
Time: Action begins at 6pm UK time (1pm ET, 10am PT in the US) on Sky Sports 3 and will switch over to Sky Sports 2 at 8pm UK time (3pm ET, 12pm PT in the US).
Live Steam Info: Sky Go for Sky customers in the UK and Ireland.
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