Heavyweights spar for top billing
Our Simon Crawford believes British heavyweights Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury will be victorious this weekend.
- Related Content
Rival British heavyweights Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury have a chance to lay down a marker ahead of a potential summer rematch.
Chisora tops the bill at the Copper Box on Saturday night against veteran American Kevin Johnson, while Fury is star attraction on the undercard as he faces another American in the shape of late replacement Joey Abell.
Chisora, 30, appears to be getting a promising career (19-4 13KOs) back on track following a string of misdemeanours and a one-sided beating at the hands of David Haye back in July 2012.
He has notched up four straight wins since that alarming setback and, should he come through Saturday's test unscathed, is due to fight Fury again after he was outpointed in July 2011.
The winner of that domestic dust-up will then be in line to fight for a world title so the stakes are high for both men.
You would have to say that Chisora has the sternest test against 34-year-old Johnson (29-4-1 14KOs) who has never been stopped in the pro ranks.
However, he has lost three of his last six and I would be quick to question whether the same ambition burns inside him that saw him take world champion Vitali Klitschko the distance.
Nevertheless, he is awkward, vastly experienced and knows how to get Chisora frustrated.
Now we all know that 'Del Boy' has a short fuse so if he is pushed over the edge then Johnson has the ability to make him pay.
You would like to think, however, that Chisora has turned over a new leaf and this new mature version should be able to see off the crafty American.
The layers certainly agree and 1/5 (Paddy Power) is the market standout on a Chisora success, with Johnson as big as 9/2.
The American is durable as his record suggests so my leaning would be towards an emphatic Chisora points win but the best price is 4/7 (Boylesports, Betfred) in the method of victory market so there's no value there.
Chisora to force a stoppage in rounds 7-12 does have some appeal at a general 13/2, but I think Johnson is too wily not to go the distance and he will at least make Chisora work for his win.
So it's to the Tyson-Abell 10-rounder that I go to try to find some value.
Fury (21-0) should be able to glide past Abell who has 28 stoppages in 29 wins, but has always been wanting when it has come to stepping up in class.
However, Fury should take note that Abell did floor leading contender Kubrat Pulev before retiring after four rounds.
Fury's last outing, 10 months ago in New York, saw him dropped by former cruiserweight Steve Cunningham before winning in the seventh so he can not afford to show the same complacency.
There's no doubt in my mind that Fury will win the fight - it's just a case of when.
He is is a best price of 1/12 with Betfred but as short as 1/25 with most other layers with Abell a general best of 10/1.
Had Fury been more active in the past 12 months then I would probably have tipped a very early night, but I think ring rust and the genuine need to get some rounds under his belt will at least see the fight get to around halfway before the 6ft 9in Manchester-born fighter finally brings the end for Abell.
So I'm going to get involved in the 7/4 being offered by Paddy Power for a Fury victory in rounds 4-6.