The Friday Faceup

Terence Crawford (left) eyes former champ Shawn Porter.
Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc/Getty Images.

A jam packed boxing schedule is programmed both sides of the Atlantic this weekend, starting tonight (Fri 19th).

First up in New Hampshire, USA will be WBO world middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade making the fifth defence of his title against Ireland’s Jason Quigley. ‘Boo Boo’ Andrade (30-0, 18 KO’s) is striving for a superfight in the 160lb (11st,6lb) division having regularly called out superstars Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin. Despite being supremely talented and a double ‘world’ champion, having also held the WBO light-middleweight title, his style is more effective than box office.

Andrade will be fighting in his home state and enters the contest as a big favourite. Tough Quigley (19-1, 14 KO’s) has won his last three contests since a sole defeat to Tureano Johnson in July 2019 and is trained by former WBO world champion Andy Lee. He will take the fight to Andrade but probably succumb to the champion’s superior boxing skills in the late rounds. Andrade is in need of a stoppage on his resume to nail the big fights and look for him to win by this route. The contest will be shown live on the DAZN streaming site in the early hours of Saturday (UK time).

The highlight in the UK will be a further edition of the BOXXER series at the SSE Wembley Arena shown live and exclusive on SKY Sports from 8pm (UK time) Saturday. It will also be available in the USA on ESPN.

Top of the bill is Britain’s world ranked cruiserweight Richard Riakporhe (12-0, 8 KO’s) against capable Nigerian Olantrewaju Durodola (36-8, 33 KO’s). Big punching Riakporhe has suffered from inactivity over the two years, but is now back on track after a points victory last month against Krzysztof Twardowski.

The Brit has a chance this weekend to gain the WBC ‘silver’ title which provides a gateway to a higher ranking with that organisation. The cruiserweight (200lbs/14st,4lb) division has received a real boost this week with the announcement that ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will step up two divisions to challenge WBC champion Ilungu Makabu. This will add prestige to the weight class and Riakporhe could be well positioned with an impressive victory. He holds a victory over current British, European and Commonwealth champion Chris Billam-Smith and would seem better placed already.

The card is stacked with good contests including Dan Azeez (14-0, 9 KO’s) versus Hosea Burton (26-2, 12 KO’s) for the British light-heavyweight title, Mikael Lawal against Leonardo Damian Bruzzese at cruiser and, Florian Marku versus Jorick Luisetto at welterweight. There are also appearances by Hassan Azim (making his pro-debut), his brother Adam and, Olympian Natasha Jonas who’s just switched over to the BOXXER franchise.

Look for Riakporhe to win impressively, likely by mid-round stoppage and the fight of the night to be the Azeez-Burton contest.

Then, in the early hours Sunday (UK time) the focus switches to a potential humdinger from the Mandalay Bay hotel, Las Vegas, USA. Undefeated Ring magazine pound-for-pound #3 Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford (37-0, 28 KO’s) faces twice world champion ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter (31-3-1, 17 KO’s) for the former’s WBO world welterweight title. The event is on Top Rank pay per view and ESPN in the US and available to subscribers on Sky Sports in the UK.

Crawford is a supreme southpaw stylist with a solid dig and considered one of the best across all divisions. In his last showing he bombed out former ‘world’ champion Kell Brook who holds a victory over Porter. Whilst Brook was a few years into his prime this comparison is a useful form guide.

Porter was an elite amateur who comes to fight and will make the contest exciting for as long as it lasts. Look though for Crawford’s boxing skills and eventual nastiness to stop his opponent for the first time somewhere around the ninth. If ‘Bud’ does the expected it will set up a blockbusting unification fight against WBC and IBF world champion Errol Spence Jr. which is arguably the biggest match to be made in the sport. Both are tied to different promoters and networks but the pressure of public opinion and lack of alternative options could bring this contest closer together with a Crawford victory.

Enjoy your boxing weekend.

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