IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston looks for the betting value in this weekend’s boxing action including world-rated middleweight Liam Williams’ British title defence against Andrew Robinson, Nathan Gorman’s heavyweight return vs Richard Lartey and the 175lbs dust-up between Dominic Boesel and Robin Krasniqi.
Slim pickings on the betting boards for tonight but let’s have a look at what’s on offer.
Liam Williams is obviously a huge favourite to retain his British middleweight title against Andrew Robinson in the BT Sport main event from the network’s studio in east London. Williams has been looking powerful and impressive since stepping up in weight from 154 pounds and moving his training base to the Ingle gym in Sheffield. He looked almost unstoppable in blasting out his last three opponents.
Robinson is 36 but says he doesn’t have a lot ring mileage as he didn’t have his first bout until he was 21. In his only stoppage defeat, Robinson gamely lasted into the sixth round against the heavy-handed Mark Heffron.
I think the over 3.5 rounds at 5/6 (-120 American odds) has some promise here. Robinson has been very respectful towards Williams so we might not see the champion quite as fired-up as he was for his last few fights. Also, Robinson had a good win as an underdog in Poland last year, which was probably the best performance of his career. He is big and strong and awkwardly effective. Williams looks on a higher level but I think there is a good chance that Robinson can hang in there for three and a half rounds.
In a heavyweight fight on the BT Sport show, Nathan Gorman returns to the ring after his KO defeat against Daniel Dubois 15 months ago. His opponent, Ghana’s Richard Lartey, also lost by KO against Dubois in his last appearance, in the fourth round, 18 months ago.
These really are big men. The Ghanaian Lartey stands 6ft 5ins and weighed in at 256 pounds yesterday. Gorman, meanwhile, came in at a career-heaviest weight of around 273 pounds at a height of 6ft 4ins. Gorman’s previous heaviest weight was around 260 pounds.
Lartey has been in the UK for around 10 days, I believe, and he brought over a bit of an entourage with him. This suggests he has come to give it a good go. Although outgunned in the Dubois fight, Lartey did show himself to be somewhat dangerous. He backed off Dubois with right hands a couple of times.
If this was a bodybuilding contest, Lartey would win. But boxing isn’t bodybuilding. Gorman is by far the better-schooled fighter, with superior hand speed. And it’s worth noting that Lartey came in at his heaviest weight, too, at about 256 pounds, some 15 pounds more than when he fought Dubois.
This could be 10 rounds of tugging and mauling or it could be a shootout. The added weight of these two big men suggests to me that each will be looking to land heavy blows. Gorman, having fought at a higher level and with superior technique, should be able to get there first if the big punches start flying. I like the “distance — no” proposition but the price is a bit steep (8/15) at Betfred. Gorman by KO TKO DQ is priced at 5/6 (-120 American odds) at Betfred. I quite like that bet.
In Magdeburg, Germany, Dominic Boesel defends his WBA interim light-heavyweight title against Robin Krasniqi. Boesel is the favourite. He is boxing in his home state of Sachsen-Anhalt and he had a very good win in his last fight when he stopped Sweden’s Sven Fornling in the 11th round. This was a significant result because Fornling had previously beaten Karo Murat, who handed Boesel his only pro defeat.
I understand that about 2,000 spectators will be allowed into the arena, with appropriate social distancing. Krasniqi turned pro as a light-heavyweight — Nathan Cleverly soundly outpointed him in a WBO title bout at Wembley Arena seven years ago — but moved down to the super-middleweight division and is now back up at 175 pounds. I must say I thought Krasniqi looked in tremendous condition at the weigh-in; Boesel looked relaxed and confident.
Boesel says he wants to get a knockout win (that looks unlikely) while Krasniqi told the German media: “My will is indomitable.” I think we will see the usual high-activity fight from Krasniqi, lots of movement, in and out, while Boesel will likely seek to box at a measured pace and look to land sharp, authoritative punches. I lean towards Boesel but I do expect a big effort from the gutsy Krasniqi. Betting-wise, I like the “fight to go distance” proposition here but the price of about 1/4 (-400 US odds) is just too high. It’s almost worth taking a flier on “fight not to distance” at 10/3 (+333 US odds), reasoning being that anything can happen in a 12-round fight.
My preferred bet of the day, though, is Gorman KO TKO DQ @ 5/6 (-120). Sure, Gorman is heavier than we’d like him to be, but Lartey’s added poundage kind of cancels that out.
Main image: Liam Williams/Queensberry Promotions.