IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston looks ahead to ShoBox’s triple header of action on Friday night featuring Luis Reynaldo Nunez vs Carlos Arrieta, Edwin `De Los Santos vs William Foster III and Starling Castillo vs Otar Eranosyan.

Here’s something we don’t see very often: Three fights on TV with an unbeaten boxer in every fight. That’s what the Showtime network presents tonight (early Saturday morning in UK) from Orlando, Florida, as part of its young talent ShoBox series. Three Dominican Republic rising stars, all promoted by the knowledgeable Sampson Lewkowicz, get TV exposure. All three are fun to watch and one of them literally brings a fresh twist to the nickname game.

From a betting perspective we have a clear favourite in the main event, with exciting DR featherweight Luis Reynaldo Nunez (15-0, 11 KOs) meeting Puerto Rican Carlos Arrieta (14-0, 8 KOs). This is a scheduled 10-rounder

The two eight-round supporting bouts are virtually pick ’em.

Promoter Lewkowicz is really rolling the dice with his southpaw super-featherweight prospect Edwin De Los Santos, who meets by far his stiffest test in William Foster III, of New Haven, Connecticut. 

And Starling Castillo, another DR southpaw, faces what looks like a stiff test when he meets Otar Eranosyan, a Georgian who now lives in Miami, in the lightweight division.

Let’s look at Nunez vs Arrieta first. This is the only one of the three bouts where the oddsmaker leans strongly towards one man. Nunez is a 1/10 (-1000) favourite at Betfred.

I really like what I’ve seen from Nunez. He takes the fight to his opponents and shows a classy variety of punches. He’s a good body puncher and he oozes confidence. Nunez, 22, calls himself “The Twist” and he performs the 1960s dance after each bout. So, as well as being talented, Nunez also has a sense of fun. Will he still be smiling after tonight’s contest, though? I rather think he will. He simply looks a level above his 28-year-old opponent.

Arrieta’s best win was a 10-round decision over Panama’s Ricardo Nunez, a former flyweight title challenger who was on the downward slope. It was a tough, close fight for Arrieta against a faded, naturally smaller opponent. Arrieta has beaten only two opponents with winning records. He’s up against it tonight. 

Nunez made an impressive US debut in September when easily outpointing Jayvon Garnett, a boxer from Cincinnati who had a 10-0 record going into the bout. He pushed Garnett into a defensive fight and cruised to victory, winning every round. I think he can go one better and force a stoppage against Arrieta. Unfortunately, you’re looking at quite an expensive ticket price of  8/15 (-180) for the KO TKO DQ proposition.

De Los Santos vs Foster

Each man has a 13-0 record. De Los Santos, 22, is a seriously hard hitter. He’s stopped 12 of his 13 opponents. But Foster, 28, has faced the tougher opposition and he isn’t exactly a powder-puff puncher himself, with nine stoppages in his 13 wins.

The southpaw De Los Santos passes the eye test. He’s looked very good so far. The problem here is that most of his wins have been over opponents who didn’t stand much of a chance. De Los Santos was supposed to be tested in his bout with the seasoned Luis Montano of Mexico City, who had won five of his last six fights, with two of the wins over unbeaten opponents. But De Los Santos rolled right over Montano in the first round. It was difficult to gain much from his performance because Montano went down so easily. 

Foster is a slick boxer with excellent punch-anticipation. He’s clever at making the other man miss miss and landing counters. Foster tends to wing his punches, but he’s long-armed and catches opponents with hooks and right hands when they think they are out of range. He was national Golden Gloves runner-up as an amateur. 

It’s nothing new for Foster to be meeting a southpaw or an undefeated opponent. He has wins over two lefties who were unbeaten when they met him, outscoring Ugandan-born Sulaiman Segawa (10-0) and Philadelphia’s  Donald Smith, who, like Segawa, was 10-0. And Foster beat Smith on his home ground in Philadelphia. 

De Los Santos apparently started boxing at the age of eight and he was DR youth champion. He has never boxed outside of the DR as a pro and he is making a huge step up in class against Foster. 

Betfred offers Foster at 4/7 (-175), with De Los Santos priced at 11/8 (+138). If you’re betting on the untested De Los Santos you’re going with his potential rather than proven form. Either De Los Santos is the real thing or he isn’t. It’s a tough call, but there are worse bets you could make than going with a young southpaw banger who has done everything asked of him.

Castillo vs Eranosyan

The third unbeaten vs unbeaten bout is the one that intrigues me the most, with Starling Castillo (16-0, 12 KOs) meeting a tough and ambitious opponent in Otar Eranosyan (10-0, 6 KOs).

Castillo, 26, is younger and taller and he’s the puncher in the fight with 12 KOs in his 16 wins. He looked devastating when knocking out an unbeaten opponent, Miguel Contreras, in the second round in his US debut. And in his last fight Castillo gained valuable experience when winning a unanimous 10-round decision over durable veteran Juan Carlos Burgos. 

The 28-year-old Eranosyan has an all-action, high-energy style. He fought at a high level as an amateur, winning a European championships silver medal and a world championships bronze medal.

Castillo is rightly the favourite, with Etarosyan moving up in weight from 130lbs. But if Castillo can’t get Eranosyan out of the fight quickly there’s a risk that the Georgian “Pitbull” could simply swarm all over him. 

Money has been showing for Etarosyan. He’s offered at a general price of 5/4 (+125) across the industry. Castillo has been bet down to 8/13 (-160). I think we get one of two things here. Either Castillo imposes himself on his smaller opponent from the start and looks tremendous, or Etarosyan uses speed and angles, moving in and out and around the taller man and befuddling him with punch-volume. I don’t have a solid lean either way but I’d want a better price than currently available to take a chance with Etarosyan.

A bet I do quite like is De Los Santos vs Foster to go the full distance at a general price of 4/5 (-125). The bout is only eight rounds and I don’t see De Los Santos blasting his way to a quick win against the toughest opponent he has faced, while the Dominican youngster’s punching power should keep Foster boxing a somewhat conservative type of bout. 

Main image: Nunez (left) and Arrieta battle tonight in Orlando. Photo: Ryan Loco/Showtime.