IBHOF inductee and boxing betting expert Graham Houston surveys the gambling opportunities in tonight’s Queensberry Promotions show at the Royal Albert Hall featuring engagements for Lyndon Arthur, Zach Parker and Archie Sharp.
With heavy favourites at the Royal Albert Hall tonight we have to turn to the proposition market for value. Let’s take a look at the three main bouts on Frank Warren’s show (live on BT Sport 1 in the UK).
Lyndon Arthur vs Davide Faraci
We have two undefeated boxers meeting in this 10-round light-heavyweight bout but Arthur is the more polished, with the superior jab, and he’s faced the better-calibre opposition. However, Swiss-born Italian Faraci looks strong and determined and he’s been in fights where he’s got off the floor to win, which shows grit and character. This is a big step up for Faraci, though.
Arthur gave the performance of his life in outscoring Anthony Yarde. That one showing on its own would seem to put Arthur a class above Faraci. However, Faraci boxed at a respectable level in the amateurs and in his last fight he went to Germany and won a unanimous eight-round decision over unbeaten house fighter Emre Cukur, who had the Turkish-German crowd right behind him.
Cukur, a southpaw, dropped Faraci with a left hand in the second round but Faraci came on strongly. Faraci bullied Cukur around the ring and dropped him twice in the last round. So Faraci does seem a determined type.
Obviously, there’s a big difference in ability between Arthur and the likes of Emre Cukur. Still, I do expect a good effort from Faraci. I think he can go some rounds with Arthur, maybe even the full distance. The fighters Arthur has stopped have usually been halted before and Faraci seems to have plenty of ambition. Arthur is a 1/33 favourite at Betfred but some shops have an over/under market of either 5.5 rounds or 6.5 rounds. There could be value in the “over” market at odds slightly north of even money.
Zach Parker vs Sherzod Khusanov
Parker, the WBO’s No. 1-ranked contender at 168 pounds, should be too young and fast for the 41-year-old Khusanov in this 10-rounder. Although Khusanov was a world amateur championships silver medallist and Olympic quarter-finalist for Uzbekistan some 17 years ago he hasn’t made any great impression as a pro.
I thought that Khusanov looked his age when undefeated Aslambek Idigov beat him on a unanimous 10-round decision in Russia in April. And I thought Khusanov looked soft in the body at Friday’s weigh-in while Parker, as ever, looked ripped and ready. The question for me isn’t whether Parker wins but whether he goes for the stoppage.
Parker looked very good in his last fight when blowing away the muscled Vaughn Alexander in two rounds. Alexander is usually durable but Parker was able to catch and hurt him before the US visitor could really get into the fight. But I don’t expect a similar quick win for Parker tonight.
If Khusanov stays behind a tight defence and basically boxes not to get stopped, as he did in the fight in Russia, it’s not going to be easy for Parker to get to him with clean, sharp shots. Also, even at 41, Khusanov can be somewhat dangerous, as he proved when winning by KO in Poland last September.
So, it’s possible that Parker will simply look to preserve his No. 1 ranking by boxing his way to a safe win by decision. The other possibility is that Parker might look to underline his top contender status by seeking to do a number on his ageing opponent. And if Parker is aggressive and targets Khusanov’s rather doughy body I think the stoppage could happen, maybe in one of the later rounds.
Betfred offers “Fight to go the distance — No” at 11/10 (+110). I quite like this play. As ever, though, these proposition wagers are something of a guessing game. We know what we think a fighter should do, but the boxer himself might have something quite different in mind.
Still, is a play-it-safe win, in a bout that goes the distance, really what Parker needs? I don’t think so. My guess is that Parker will want to put on a performance befitting his high world standing.
Archie Sharp vs Diego Andrade
Unbeaten 130-pounder Sharp is the obvious favourite (1/25 in most places) in this scheduled 10-rounder. At his best, Sharp is fast and classy, and he switches smoothly between the orthodox and southpaw styles. Andrade is a tough fighter from the state of Durango. He takes it to his opponents and lets his hands go, somewhat crude but tenacious. Sharp to win by decision is offered at 8/11 (-138) at Betfred. I think there’s value in this play.
Main image: Arthur vs Faraci, Queensberry Promotions.