Put your dollar on Crolla
Derek Bilton previews this weekend's boxing action and he's siding with Anthony Crolla.
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Tony Bellew is involved in a fascinating WBC light-heavyweight title eliminator this weekend when he meets Isaac Chilemba in front of what should prove a raucous home crowd in Liverpool.
- 6pts - Crolla to beat Matthews at 5/6 (Ladbrokes) - confident following last win and looks a decent bet
- 2pts - Crolla to win by KO, TKO or Disqualification at 9/4 (Betfred) - see above.
- 2pts - Bellew to beat Chilemba at 7/4 (Boylesports) - the experienced Bellew can tough this out cheered on by raucous crowd.
Bellew is a 1/2 favourite with the layers but most observers have this as a 50-50 pick 'em job. Chilemba is a 20-1-1 (9) Malawian who has experienced extreme hardship in his life (both of his parents are dead and he is boxing to try and put a brother and sister through school).
An athletic fighter with rapier-like mitts, Chilemba is arguably the slickest fighter Bellew has boxed to date. The Toxteth banger of course gave WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly hell in a fantastic 2011 scrap but ultimately lost on the cards. That has proved his only defeat in 20 pro outings and the 'Bomber' is confident he can get the job done this weekend.
The Scouser is always good for a quote and has spoken this week aboutb the pressures of boxing to provide a future for himself and his young family. A loss won't see him on skid row, but it could prove a devastating setback to a career that began back in 2007.
The odds on Chilemba has shortened this week and having watched a few of his fights on Youtube I can see why. He is a pretty well rounded fighter with who fires sharp combinations. However he lacks a big punch and if this comes down to a battle of will I fancy Bellew to get the win.
Tony has been wobbled and dropped a few times as a professional but always managed to find a way.He is tenacious and leaves no stone unturned in his preparation for a fight. This one could be an absolute war but roared on by 10000 rabid locals I like Bellew to tough this out via a (possibly controversial) decision.
On the undercard of Belliw v Chilemba Derry Matthews and Anthony Crolla go at it again in what could be a show-stealer.
The pair waged war in what ended up the domestic Fight of the Year in 2012. That contest, in Oldham, saw Crolla go in as a fairly heavy favourite with the layers. However a Matthews uppercut a few rounds into that one proved a game-changer.
Crolla rallied bravely but was stopped in the sixth. The stoppage looked a tad premature but after a ferocious battle there were few complaints. Inevitably there had to be a return and the layers cannot split them.
This time the roles are reversed. Matthews has home advantage and could be inspired by a hometown crowd. However fighting in front of such a rabid audience brings its own pressures and Matthews, while heavy handed, is also vulnerable.
In eight pro defeats he has been stopped seven times and has lost three of his last six. In stark contrast Crolla comes into this off the back of a fine win against the previously unbeaten Kieran Farrell.
This should be entertaining while it lasts, but I really fancy the youth and vitality of Crolla here to get the job done, probably inside the distance.