Weekend Betting Angle: Avanesyan-Metz, McKenna-Prograis

IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston seeks the betting value in this weekend’s fights including European welterweight champion David Avanesyan against Finland’s Oskari Metz and the clash between Belfast’s popular Tyrone McKenna and former WBA 140lbs champion Regis Prograis.

There aren’t any blockbuster fights tonight but there might be some wagering possibilities even with so many huge favourites on the board.

David Avanesyan is a prohibitive favourite in his European welterweight title defence against Finland’s Oskari Metz that tops the bill on the BT Sport show from Wembley Arena. Avanesyan is a 1/50 favourite at Betfred. The KO TKO proposition is priced at 1/6. Some markets have an over/under proposition of 4.5 rounds at 5/6 (-120) pick ’em.

Metz is taller than Avanesyan and he’s unbeaten in 15 bouts. He had a nice win away from home a couple of years ago when he outpointed Michal Syrowatka in Poland. It was an easy win, too, with Metz winning every round. 

In the bout with Syrowatka, Metz had what could be called a “likes to fight” look about him. He was on top of the Polish boxer from the start, jabbing on his way in, landing right hands on top and digging the left hook to the body. He was hitting Syrowatka so easily that at one point — from memory in the fifth round — that one of the Polish TV commentators exclaimed “Ay-yi-yi!”, Ricky Ricardo-like, in exasperation.

Avanesyan obviously looks like a much higher-calibre fighter than Metz — more seasoned, stronger, heavier hitting. But from what I’ve seen of Metz he looks like a tough, willing, industrious fighter. And with an unbeaten boxer we don’t know the level he can reach. 

If Metz takes the fight to Avanesyan he might quickly find himself outgunned. Avanesyan has been blasting through opponents lately. But it’s possible that, on sheer guts and defiance, Metz can hang in there until at least the halfway point of the fifth round. I think I’d rather take a chance on the over 4.5 than the under.

I have a feeling that unbeaten 140-pounder Henry Turner can get his first stoppage win in a scheduled six-rounder against Ivan Njegac on the Wembley undercard. Tall southpaw Turner has won all six pro bouts on points. But Njegac has been stopped in five of his last eight bouts, which includes two one-round KO defeats. When a boxer has been stopped several times it’s usually easier for the other fighter to make him wish he was some place else. 

Turner isn’t what you’d call a hard hitter as such but he’s only 21 and still getting his man strength. I’m sure he’d like to get that first KO/TKO on his record and Njegac looks the perfect opponent. Some outlets offer a “distance — no” proposition but the price has deteriorated and you’re looking at 2/3 (-150) odds on Turner getting it done inside the scheduled six rounds.

Ireland’s Tyrone McKenna faces a formidable opponent in former 140lbs champ Regis Prograis in Dubai, and not surprisingly he is a big underdog. If you feel McKenna can shock the boxing world you might be interested in the 12/1 (+1200) odds offered at Betfred for Irish eyes to be smiling in Dubai.

This is a huge opportunity for McKenna as the bout is a WBC title eliminator. But while the 6ft 1in McKenna enjoys significant height and reach advantages he tends to gets involved in firefights rather than boxing on the outside, and going toe-to-toe with the powerful Prograis doesn’t seem a particularly good idea.

Even if McKenna tries to keep the fight at long range it’s difficult to see him holding off Prograis for the full distance. With that thought in mind, Betfred offers the Prograis KO/TKO proposition at 2/9 (-450).

The over/under (total rounds) proposition might be the way to go here. 

The bout to go over 5.5 rounds has a general price of 5/7 (-140). If McKenna boxes a disciplined fight and uses movement it’s feasible that he can get the bout into the sixth round. Prograis doesn’t quickly blow out everyone. After all, Britain’s Terry Flanagan hung in there for the full 12 rounds with Prograis. But if a bettor is on an “over” proposition and a dangerous fighter such as Prograis is in the ring, five-and-a-half rounds can seem like an eternity.

Main image: Avanesyan (left) and Metz meet at Wembley Arena in London on Saturday. Photo: Queensberry Promotions.