Boxing manager, Sam Jones, joins Boxing Social to discuss and dissect what’s going on in the sport. In this column he predicts the triple threat of world title fights on UK shores – Mauricio Lara versus Leigh Wood 2, Lawrence Okolie defending against Chris Billam-Smith and Michael Conlan challenging Luis Alberto Lopez. His man, Jack Catterall, faces Darragh Foley – and he’s expecting a statement performance.
Mauricio Lara vs Leigh Wood 2
It’s a hard one, because it’s a quick turnaround for Leigh Wood. I predicted he was going to get knocked out in the first fight. However, he really impressed me with his performance up to that point – I actually thought he let Lara off the hook a few times after some good body shots.
It’s not like me to sit on the fence, but I don’t know how the fight’s going to go. I want Leigh Wood to win. I do make Lara a favourite, but I’m hearing that he’s struggling badly with the weight, which could play into Wood’s hands.
Lawrence Okolie vs Chris Billam-Smith
I think Lawrence Okolie will knock Chris Billam-Smith out in six to seven rounds. ‘The Gentleman’ has the hometown crowd behind him, the whole night revolves around him, but that doesn’t always help. It could lead to him getting a bit reckless in the fight, and I think he’ll walk on to a big right hand from Okolie.
When he hits you clean, you usually don’t get back up. Middle round KO for ‘The Sauce.’
Luis Alberto Lopez vs Michael Conlan
I’m buzzing for this fight. Mick’s a good friend of mine and I’m fully backing him to do a job on Lopez. The first four rounds are going to be difficult in my opinion, but I believe once he gets passed those his footwork in this fight is going to be the key.
Conlan’s ring IQ is absolutely fantastic, and I think he’ll get a unanimous points decision in Belfast.
Jack Catterall vs Darragh Foley
There’s a gulf in class between them. I like Darragh Foley – he’s prepared well, he’s very game and he’s had a lot of notice for this fight coming off a big win.
But Jack showed in his last fight that he should be mixing it with all the elite. Not only that, he should be the undisputed champion. It is what it is, Jack will get his opportunity again, and this victory is the first step to that. I’m going for my man to stop Foley between rounds eight and ten.