The Weekender

London cruiserweights promise fireworks Saturday.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER

There’s some interesting match ups in British rings this weekend.

On the BOXXER promotion (Sat 26 March) shown live on Sky Sports from the OVO Wembley Arena is a cruiserweight contest between undefeated Brits Richard Riakporhe and Deion Jumah. Both men have reason to be confident having answered most questions on their way up to this point.

Riakporhe (13-0, 9 KO’s) is world ranked and impressed last time out against Olanrejawu Durodola at the same venue. Jumah (14-0, 7 KO’s) has turned a good amateur record (former ABA champion and English international) into the pro’s and, although the older of the two, offers an excellent challenge.

Both boxers talked a good contest at Thursday’s spicy final press conference and it promises much. Riakporhe looks to have the better power and upward trajectory but the southpaw stance of Jumah will cause him early problems. After a competitive first eight rounds we predict a late stoppage by the younger and fresher Riakporhe.

Chief support will be new British light-heavyweight champion Dan Azeez against former amateur nemesis Matthew Tinker. The latter holds a victory against the champion and Azeez has revenge on his mind. Londoner Azeez looks to have all the tools to compete in a stacked British 12st 7lb (175lb) division and is improving with each fight. His title victory over Hosea Burton by seventh round stoppage last November at Wembley was an excellent contest and performance. We expect him to win Saturday’s fight again by mid-round stoppage.

The BOXXER event is further enhanced with the return of promising brothers Adam Aziz, in a lightweight contest, and Hassan Aziz at welterweight. Tokyo 2020 Olympian Caroline Dubois also features in her second professional contest. Bright futures are expected for all three and they should come through their contests comfortably.

Up in Leeds, north England, is an intriguing contest between Spain’s returning ‘world’ featherweight champion Kiko Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KO’s) against hometown favourite Josh Warrington (30-1-1, 7 KO’s). This is promoted by Matchroom Boxing and available on the DAZN streaming channel.

Martinez, now 36, came from nowhere to regain a version of the world title when ‘sparking’ Kid Galahad late last year in what many regard as the upset of the year and The Ring magazine voted their comeback of 2021. The Spaniard had fought consistently at world level for over a decade but was thought a spent force going into the Galahad fight. However, the one punch knockout was nothing short of sensational.

The contest with Warrington is his first defence of his IBF title and a rematch. The Leeds challenger holds a victory over Martinez just under five years ago.

The key to this contest will be who has the most left as both in different ways are still on the comeback trail. Warrington, a former IBF champion himself, after losing his title to Mauricio Lara, has failed to restart his career to date, some of which has been due to enforced absence over successive COVID lockdowns. Martinez more recently has a win some-lose some record, but is always in splendid condition and comes to fight. It’s likely though the younger Leeds man will prevail in a tough contest to regain his title.

The title fight is also well supported with an excellent domestic match between Maxi Hughes (24-5-2, 5 KO’s) and Ryan Walsh (27-3-2, 12 KO’s) at lightweight. This could be a pick-ems with either fighter likely to emerge victorious. The card also features a potentially good female contest between Maria Cecilia Roman and Ebanie Bridges for the IBF ‘world’ bantamweight title.

Enjoy your fight weekend.

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