The show Frank Warren is hosting at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff has been broadsided by relentless problems. Firstly, headliner Billy Joe Saunders and chief support Chris Eubank Jr withdrew from their respective clashes thanks to injury, prompting the card to be moved from it’s October 22nd date to the 26th of November, only for Ahmet Patterson to pull out of his British title shot against Liam Williams mere days before the fight was due to take place thanks to the act of several cowardly thugs, who assaulted Patterson while the super-welterweight was out running. The breaking news is that Billy Joe Saunders has had to postpone yet again, after a translation issue with Akavov’s medical form was unable to be rectified in time for the weekend. They will now face one another on December the 3rd.
Despite all that, the event has survived, and has become increasingly important for those boxers who remain on the bill. The headliner will now be Terry Flanagan’s WBO lightweight title defence against Orlando Cruz, and is a bout in which the champion will want to impress. The likeable Mancunian has insisted he is being avoided by the current crop of British lightweights, and will further his case with a win over Cruz, who has only lost to good opposition. Flanagan, with a perfect 31-0 record, has an excellent work ethic and underrated power, yet inexplicably hasn’t quite managed to capture the imagination of the public. A good win for him would likely set up calls for a unification bout, and give him some attention that he frankly deserves.
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Tommy Langford had his bout thrown in jeopardy after Eubank’s withdrawal, but is now due to face Sam Sheedy in a battle for the British middleweight belt. Langford, unbeaten in 17 and owner of the Commonwealth and WBO Inter-Continental titles, will enter the ring as the favourite, and will look to pressure Sheedy early on, who has faced a lower calibre of opposition but who’s southpaw stance could still make an awkward night’s work for the Birmingham native, and is not to be written off. Langford would have fully announced his arrival on the domestic scene with a decent performance against Eubank, but now must hope that the same against Sheedy will lead to something meaningful in the future.
Thomas Stalker will see this weekend as an opportunity to really put some demons to rest when he faces Craig Evans for the third time, after their two previous back-and-forth encounters ended in split decision draws. Both occasions have been for the vacant WBO European lightweight title and have resulted in highly enjoyable moments, each man proving to be the other’s kryptonite as the judges failed to separate them. Stalker will see a win as the closing of a chapter punctuated by short periods of inactivity, three consecutive draws and a loss to Jack Catterall, giving him a record of 2-1-3 in the past two years, while Evans, in a similar predicament, must find a way to get past Stalker if he wants to compete for domestic titles without starting again from scratch. Either way, a third draw would be incomprehensible; this meeting must produce a winner.
After Ahmet Patterson’s withdrawal, Liam Williams will have to make do with Hungarian import Gabor Gorbics, whom he faces for the WBO European super-welterweight title. The match with Patterson was touted by many as the most competitive on the bill, an all domestic clash between two undefeated pros who would find themselves launched up the rankings with a victory. Sadly for Williams, much of the intrigue in this bout vanished along with Patterson, leaving the Welshman with an opponent who doesn’t bring much in the way of drama or reputation, having been beaten any time he has stepped in with anyone of note. As a consequence, Williams may go looking for the knockout early on, although that will be of little consolation to him or his fans after such a frustrating conclusion to a promising build up.
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Also featuring on the card are Kid Galahad and Nathan Gorman, two sensations at super-bantamweight and heavyweight respectively who will look to step up in the near future. Galahad is back in business after failing a drug test, and has racked up two wins this year, although albeit against limited opposition. He knocked both opponents out, so more of the same on Saturday will surely prove he is still capable of operating several tiers above his current company. Gorman has several boxing circles muttering their approval, and should look to capitalize on that by putting in a decent shift in his first appearance on a bigger stage.
Also on the card are Rueben Arrowsmith, Alex Hughes, Jay Harris and Jason Sillett, all undefeated