Chris Oliver, boxing expert, is back to preview this weekend’s big-fight action with a delicious double in his recommended betting.
This weekend’s televised fights will feature two major bouts. Both look very well matched and the winner is not easy to predict.
We begin in Cardiff, where Joe Cordina tries to become the 13th World Champion from Wales. He takes on Kenichi Okawa live on DAZN.
Cordina, a decorated amateur, was invited to the Olympics 2016. However, Cordina’s career, like Joshua Buatsi in Rio, has been a slow burner. He was also injured in his hand and missed 2020. However, he is now able to compete against the IBF super featherweight champion.
Ogawa, however, is not a pushover and will be a tough test for the Welshman. Ogawa, the Japanese champion, has lost only once in 28 fights (10 years ago). He comes to this bout after an impressive performance when he won the title against Azinga Fuzile in New York last December. Ogawa defeated the South African three times in a thrilling bout that ended in a unanimous decision.
Perhaps his victory over Tevin Farmer in 2017 is what he is most well-known for. He was awarded a close decision, but then tested positive for androstanediol, and the result was changed to a no contest. He is still a powerful force at 130lbs, and Cordina will need to make a career-best effort.
Ogawa supporters have seen their man drift to 11/8. The local man has been able to make a lot of money during fight week. He is currently at a best price 4/7. Ogawa, who has fought twice in the US, could have home advantage and this has been evident in the betting patterns. However Ogawa will not be hesitant about traveling.
He is all about power, so it’s not surprising to see him win by decision at 11/2. If he wants to make his 27th career win, he will likely win within 5/2. The visitor will push the action right from the start, looking for that big right hand and trying to impose his physicality upon the challenger.
Cordina is all about sweet science. If he wants to keep his perfect record (10/11), it will most likely be by decision (10/11). Ogawa (15/2) doesn’t seem to have the power to stop Cordina (15/2). The favourite seems to have a little more power since dropping to the weight division and getting his hand operated on.
His main assets are still his silky skills, and he has many of them. He is a natural athlete with lightning feet and great hands. He can fire sharp, precise shots with good variation and has excellent movement. He has a beautiful jab that he mixes well to his body and head and can pick off bullish champions as he moves forward.
Cordina is a quick starter and could prove to be crucial as he tries to get the champion to the first round while he tries to find his range. It’s easy to imagine the challenger being at the halfway stage with a high score and using his speed and footwork against the champion.
Ogawa will probably close the distance in the fight, and that will be when Cordina will have to answer some big questions. He will need to be able to handle the aggressive champion in the final rounds. Although he will likely have to endure some scares in the latter rounds, he could still make it to the end bell. I think he might just be able to overcome them all.
Cordina is experienced enough and at only 30 years old, it is not a major issue for him. Ogawa may start to age a bit at 34. Cordina’s status as the ‘A-side in his country can be a significant factor here. I believe that he will win the belt by a decision win.
Sky Sports has a great lightweight contest in the early hours Sunday morning. All the belts in the 135lb weight division are up for grabs between Devin Haney and George Kambosos Jnr in Australia.
Kambosos was the surprise of 2021, when he took the WBA, IBF and WBO belts from Teofimo Lomachenko via split decision. Lopez was the hot favourite to win his unbeaten streak, but Kambosos showed tremendous heart, skill, and resilience to take the victory.
He has been granted home advantage and will be supported by a large crowd at the Marvel Stadium, Melbourne. It is a sign of his confidence that he was originally set to face Lomachenko in the first defense. However, Lomachenko was forced to withdraw because of conflict in Ukraine. Kambosos chose Haney as his next best option.
Haney is widely considered one of the best prospects in the game. He has a record of 27-0 (15KO) that shows steady improvement over the years. In his last three appearances, he has outpointed Jorge Linares, Yuriorkis Gamboa and ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz and this could be the right time for him to make it big.
He will have to go it alone. His father, Bill Haney, refused a visa, and Ben Davidson isn’t yet in Australia. Haney has been to hostile territories before. He went to Mexico as a 16 year-old to start his career and the tough apprenticeship taught him how to deal with hardship.
Haney is a 8/13 favorite to win the most difficult test of his career. Some may wonder why Kambosos is available as an 11/8 option, despite the fact that he has the best form with the Lopez win. Although that’s a valid point, it was not the best Lopez we saw that night. His wild and gung-ho approach was far from the brilliant tactical display that he displayed against Lomachenko.
Kambosos has home support and a huge self-belief. He is likely to fight for his belts and win another victory. Haney has the superior skillset and that is enough to win my vote.
He is quick and agile, which allows him to make his opponents miss. They can also pay him with rapid counters and fast punches. His jabs are precise and authoritative. The American can use the aggression of the home fighter against him to box his way into a points win if he keeps his cool and uses his superior ring intelligence.
Haney will likely have to deal with some awkward moments, much like Cordina just a few hours before. However, a decision win for Haney looks most likely at 21/20.