Heavyweight action dominates the main event in Manchester, and a crossroads clash in the Heavyweight division is also the highlight of a quality Joshua vs Molina Undercard.
Joshua vs Molina Undercard Preview
Topping the Joshua vs Molina undercard is Whyte vs Chisora in a world title eliminator.
Dereck Chisora seems to be at a last chance saloon when he faces London rival Dillian Whyte, in a contest of men who have little problem in selling a fight to the wider public.
For Whyte 19-1(15KO’s) this is the perfect opportunity to put defeat at the hands of Anthony Joshua behind him as he moves his way towards his own world title glory. But in another emotionally charged contest, he must keep his cool against the still dangerous Chisora 26-6(18KO’s).
But Chisora’s most recent comeback has lacked the spark that he showed following defeat to David Haye. The retirement loss against Tyson Fury seems to have taken more out of the Finchley fighter than he cares to admit.
In defeat to Kubrat Pulev, Chisora lacked the same fire that we had become used to seeing out of him, although one judge managed to conjure up a scorecard in his favour.
Whyte is the far fresher of the two, and should dominate Chisora in a similar fashion to the way he bemused David Allen and Ian Lewison in his most recent contests.
The talk has been of fireworks, but this fight is likely to fizzle out into a rather drab affair, with Chisora pulled out of the British Heavyweight contest after 9 rounds.
Another ‘big-man’ match-up sees Luis Ortiz 26-0(22KO’s) in his second contest with Eddie Hearn, as he hopes for a more engaging affair with David Allen 9-1-1(6KO’s) this weekend.
In his last outing, Ortiz was frustrated with the consistent moving and lack of engaging from Malik Scott in a boring 12 round decision win. But it may have been the limitations to Ortiz’s game that frustrated him more than just Scott’s desire to survive.
Ortiz struggled to cut off the ring, and thus his power was not on display. But Saturday night will be a different story as the immovable Allen should spend much of the contest in clear sight.
Allen has a stellar chin, but Ortiz’s power is more seasoned than that of Whyte, and soaking up punishment could be the worst tactic to employ.
Allen will offer resistance, but in a mood to impress, Ortiz will not let up when he feels he is connecting with ease.
With Ortiz standing in range, Allen will have his moments too, but they will not be as impactful as the Cuban’s. Ortiz can find enough gaps to force a punishing stoppage after 5 rounds.
In the second world title fight of the show, Kal Yafai 20-0(14KO’s) will look to add his name to the contingent of British world champions, when he faces the exciting Luis Concepcion 35-4(24KO’s).
Yafai has shined bright on the domestic stage at Super Flyweight, and is as ready as he can ever be for his first world title challenge.
But there are no easy routes to a world championship in a division that includes pound-for-pound sensations Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada and Naoya Inoue.
Concepcion is the WBA ruler, making the first defence of his title after dethroning Kohei Kono in Japan.
Concepcion, like many fighters in the lighter divisions, has great experience fighting on the road, and while this is just his 5th legit world title fight, the Panamanian has mixed with a high level of opposition for over 5 years now.
But if Yafai cannot find victory against Concepcion, then Super Flyweight is not going to be the division in which he will strike gold any time soon.
A stunning performance however will put him up there with the chance to share the ring with some of the best fighters on the planet.
Yafai must keep this contest at range, while being extremely wary of the knockout power that Concepcion carries in either hand.
This has the makings of the fight of the night, and one that can be won with a quick start from the challenger. Concepcion will make his impact late on, but Yafai will have done enough in the opening 7 or 8 rounds to secure a close decision win.
Scott Quigg 31-1-2(23KO’s) looks to manoeuvre himself into another world title shot with his first contest since breaking his jaw in a career first loss to Carl Frampton.
Jose Cayetano 20-4(9KO’s) is the opponent who should extend him into the later rounds.
Cayetano has been the distance with Leo Santa Cruz, which Sky will no doubt remind the viewers on numerous occasions.
With a little rust to brush off, Quigg may need the 12-round distance himself, but the feeling is that Quigg can force an impressive stoppage sometime in the fight’s second half.
In more British title action, there is a long-awaited clash between Hosea Burton 18-0(9KO’s) and Frank Buglioni 18-2-1(14KO’s).
Burton is the fresher of the two, and the man on the way up, but Buglioni has mixed with the better opposition, and certainly produced a spirited effort against the hard-hitting Fedor Chudinov (L UD 12).
But with the extra weight – this fight is at Burton’s natural Light Heavyweight – Buglioni will likely come unstuck against the rangy Burton.
It is another fascinating and likely exciting contest, that should see its conclusion inside 9 rounds, as Burton records his best victory to date.
Callum Smith 21-0(16KO’s) is back in action against British opposition, as he looks to make his first defence of the British Super Middleweight crown he won in quick fashion against Rocky Fielding.
Luke Blackledge 22-2(7KO’s) will be far more cautious than Fielding was that night, but will not deny Smith from forcing an inside-the-distance win.
Blackledge – who was stopped himself inside a round by Fielding – will last a little longer here, but he probably won’t make it past halfway.
The Joshua vs Molina undercard also features Katie Taylor’s second outing as a pro, while prospects Marcus Morrison and Connor Benn are also set to feature.