Boxing expert Chris Oliver delivers his verdict on a busy Saturday, with John Ryder, Dillian Whyte and Nathan Gorman all featuring among his selections.
Boxing betting tips: Saturday November 26
2pts John Ryder to beat Zach Parker at 2/1 (Sky Bet)
1pt Dillian Whyte to win by decision at 4/1 (General)
1pt Nathan Gorman to win by decision at 7/1 (bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes)
It’s a very busy weekend for boxing fans and there may be some value to be found in the plethora of tasty fights on offer. With televised cards on Friday and Sunday, there are also two big cards in London cards on Saturday night and viewers face a tricky dilemma of which channel to choose.
DAZN screen arguably the better overall card at the Wembley Arena, but BT Sport have the best and most intriguing fight of the evening as Zach Parker versus JOHN RYDER headlines at the O2 Arena.
In an unusual occurrence of a Matchroom fighter and a Queensbury fighter facing off in a main event, this is a fascinating all-British contest between a hot prospect and an experienced veteran. This type of scenario often produces great bouts and fans are split in what looks a genuine 50-50 fight, so it is somewhat of a surprise to see Ryder available at 2/1 and Parker a pretty warm order at 2/5.
It is Ryder, after all, who has all the pedigree, having mixed in world-class company for some time now and proven he belongs there. He pushed Billy Joe Saunders very close in 2013, but two more losses in the next couple of years signaled a move up super middleweight and he took his form to a new level at 168lb.
While few gave him much of a chance prior to his WBC title challenge against the then unbeaten Callum Smith in November 2019, many thought he deserved to get the nod when that very close contest went to the scorecards. The 34-year-old has won all three outings since, including a career-best victory over former two-weight world champion Daniel Jacobs when last seen in February. Like the Smith fight, it could have gone either way, but this time Ryder got the nod and has now won seven of his last eight from him.
Parker, on the other hand, is all about potential and while he hasn’t fought anywhere near the caliber of opposition as Ryder, he has looked very good in getting here. The Derby native has flourished since his contentious point victory over Darryll Williams three years ago, subsequently rattling off five straight stoppage wins and doing so with the kind of ease you would expect of someone who is ready for a test at world level. Now the questions about whether he deserves to dine at the top table will be answered.
Parker is a tall, rangy switch-hitter who mixes his shots up well and has developed good power as he has progressed. The 27-year-old was very impressive when stopping Marcus Morrison in four rounds last November and still looks to be improving, but that will need to be the case here as Ryder is a big step up in class for him.
Parker has said he will be too big and strong for the underdog, but that is exactly what Smith said before being given a torrid night by Ryder. The latter uses his lack of height to his advantage, as he utilizes his fast feet to cover the ground quickly and get in range to unleash his heavy hooks. He also does 12 rounds very well and seems to get stronger with each session, so Parker will need to get his respect early or he may struggle to keep his man off in the second half of the fight.
In a contest that could go either way, I can’t help thinking Ryder should be much shorter than 2/1 and that is where my money will be going.
It is hard to gauge how Parker will do given the level of opposition he has been knocking out and his series of quick wins may have actually done little for his education, which could be crucial against such a seasoned professional like Ryder. It also means Parker has only boxed seven rounds in the last two and half years, and he now has a 12-month absence to overcome.
Yes, Parker has looked very promising, and it would be no surprise if he defies the rise in class with a breakout victory. However, that would be placing faith in the unknown, whereas we know what we will get from Ryder – a non-stop, pressure fighter who will keep coming and is tried and tested at this level. Parker may have improved since the Williams controversy, but that was the last real pressure fighter he faced, and he didn’t cope with it too well on that occasion.
If Ryder can make Parker work early doors and not take any meaningful punishment, the underdog is capable over taking the favorite into deep waters down the stretch and making odds of 2/1 look far too big.
Make the Whyte decision
The main event across town on DAZN may not be as competitive on paper, but DILLIAN WHYTE‘s comeback against Jermaine Franklin is intriguing in a different sense.
The last time we saw Whyte, he was knocked out in stunning fashion by Tyson Fury in front of 94,000 fans at Wembley Stadium seven months ago. Having waited several years for his title shot as the mandatory challenger in the WBC rankings, ‘The Body Snatcher’ went out with a whimper when his chance finally came, as he was easily outboxed by Fury before the champion delivered the fight-ending uppercut at the end of the sixth round.
The rebuild starts here for Whyte and, with talk of a rematch with Anthony Joshua next year, the boxing world will be watching closely to see what he still has to offer. His odds of 1/10 suggest this should be an easy enough assignment, but there may be more to it than that.
Franklin (7/1) brings a perfect 21-fight record over from America, but the best names on his record are the familiar trial horses such as Rydell Booker, Jerry Forrest and Pavel Sour and they all went the distance with the man from Saginaw , Michigan. The visitor comes to fight and has fast hands, but his slow feet let him down and, as a result, he is there to be hit when often beginning his attacks from out of range. Franklin has talked a good game, but this is really all about Whyte and what he has left.
This is by far Franklin’s biggest fight, and, in truth, the best of Whyte would halt the underdog in good style here, which is reflected in the 1/3 about the favorite winning by stoppage. However, the big question is how near to his destructive best of him is Whyte these days? That defeat to Fury was his second stoppage loss di lui in his last three fights, having been sparked out by Alexander Povetkin in August 2020. He avenged the first one in style, but those pair of brutal knockouts could well have taken their toll, both mentality and physically.
The Brixton resident has gained plenty of fans due to his run of big fights against good opposition over the last five years and rightly so, but he has had several hard nights at the office (and training camps) as a result and it would be no surprise if the candle didn’t burn anywhere near as bright for Whyte now at 35 years of age.
I would expect a peak Whyte to end this around rounds 5-8, which is a 9/5 chance, and a victory in the second half for the local man is a big runner at 6/4, but my concerns about what is left in the tank means I am willing to take a chance on a POINTS WIN for the favorite at 4/1.
I believe Whyte was declining before the Fury fight and the manner of that defeat may only have served to speed up that deterioration, meaning he could be made to work harder by Franklin than we would usually expect.
Seasoned Gorman to score points win
There is another interesting heavyweight contest on the undercard as Fabio Wardley put his unbeaten record on the line against NATHAN GORMAN when they do battle for the vacant British title.
Wardley has knocked out 13 of his 14 victims and has plenty of hype behind him but has fought few opponents with any real ambition so far and we don’t know how good he is yet. Having come from the white-collar scene with no real amateur experience, Wardley is still very much a work in progress and, while we know he can bang, he still looks raw from a technical point of view.
Conversely, Gorman boxed at a high level during a good amateur career and is much more seasoned. His only loss came in a disappointing performance when challenging Daniel Dubois for this same belt in 2019, but he insists that fifth-round knockout sharpened his focus, and he has rebounded with three comfortable victories.
It’s no surprise to see Wardley as a warm 2/5 favourite, given his highlight-reel knockouts and this being on his promoter’s show, but Gorman offers a much more serious test than his odds of 5/2 suggest.
While another Wardley stoppage is entirely possible, there is little juice in the 11/10 on offer about that outcome, nor in the 11/4 about him winning on points as he has yet to go past six rounds, and this is his first contest scheduled for 12 rounds. With that in mind, along with Gorman being the more technically sound, the 7/1 available about the latter scoring a DECISION VICTORY does grab my attention.
There are question marks over Wardley’s gas tank and Gorman has shown he can do 10 rounds well on a few occasions in the past, so if he can stand up to Wardley’s power, then we could get a serious run for our money at a big price here.
Posted at 1045 GMT on 25/11/22
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