Joe Joyce desperately seeks revenge over Zhilei Zhang after a punishing loss in April, before some super-lightweight action in the States sees Richardson Hitchins face the toughest test of his career so far.
Zhilei Zhang-Joe Joyce – Either to win in rounds 7-12
It’s the fight of Joe Joyce’s career this Saturday in London as he looks to beat Zhilei Zhang just five months after being stopped in the sixth round.
‘The Juggernaut’ was bamboozled by ‘Big Bang’s southpaw stance last time out and was battered with a left hand that couldn’t miss. He was wobbled in the second round and a seriously swollen eye led the referee to call it at the halfway stage.
All in all, a night to forget for Joyce – but in order to win the rematch he must have learned from it. Better sparring, heavier on the scales and a bit of defence will all go a ways to helping him beat Zhang, who, at 40-years-old, does tire as the final bell nears.
Having said that, the man from China will be double confident and he’s a punishing operator when he gets into a rhythm. There are too many variables for a confident call here, so I’m picking it to last at least a round longer than the last time, with one man getting the stoppage in the second half.
Richardson Hitchins-Jose Zepeda – Hitchins decision
Richardson Hitchins takes on Jose Zepeda in the ultimate test before having a real claim to challenge the top dogs in the super-lightweight ranks.
Backed by regular sparring partner Shakur Stevenson, Hitchins is an extremely intelligent operator. He’ll look to disrupt Zepeda with his sharp jab and should keep the 34-year-old off balance enough to avoid any showstopping shots.
Zepeda is two-time title challenger and all-action, but he’s had a long career and Hitchins’ defence looks sharp just sixteen fights into his own campaign.
It’s undoubtedly a serious step-up for the 25-year-old against a bonafide big puncher, but I’m backing his speed and movement to shine on the way to a points decision that will leave no doubt he’s going to be an important name at 140lbs.
Jessica McCaskill-Sandy Ryan – Ryan decision
6-1 Sandy Ryan looks to unify the welterweight titles against 12-3 Jessica McCaskill this weekend on away soil.
Chantelle Cameron laid the blueprint recently for dealing with McCaskill’s unorthodox and wild-swinging style. If Ryan – naturally bigger than Cameron – can step in and take advantage of the gaps the 39-year-old leaves when throwing her shots, she should be able to rack up points.
Ryan will have to box and move and show some footwork that’s been lacking on occasion. If she puts in a disciplined performance – which she’s well capable of doing – she can take it on the scorecards and become unified world champ.