Boxing Preview: Manchester Arena Hosts Two World Title Fights Saturday (Dec. 19)

Andy_Lee_008Manchester is the scene for the last of the big fights on British soil for the calendat year of 2015, and promoter Frank Warren has two world title fights atop a big fourteen fight card. The sport books have already posted odds for five of the bouts on the card, and more are likely to be added before week’s end. The Middleweight main event sees WBO Middleweight Champion Andy Lee (34-2-1) take on the challenge of fellow countryman Billy Joe Saunders (22-0). Saunders is an Olympian for the UK and he shares the “traveler” background of Tyson Fury, but this is his first bid at a world title in his young career. Lee is an experienced veteran who won the belt a year ago and kept it hrough some adversities. Those experiences for Lee (winning the belt over undefeated Matt Korobov as an underdog and the earning a draw against former champion Peter Quillin in Quillin’s hometown) have only added to his experience advantage over Saunders. The books however, have the match as a complete toss up, as both Lee and Saunders are paying at (-110). The 12 round bout has an over/under set at 9 1/2, with the over paying at (-225) and the under at (+175). Should Saunders win, he will likely face a re-match with British rival Chris Eubank Jr, whome he defeated earlier in his career but who has since gone on to grab an interim world title. Lee is the more likely to leap into world competition with a win, and he could face the likes of daniel Jacobs or Gennady Golovkin if he retains the belt. At Super Welterweight, WBO World titlist Liam Smith comes in a big (-610) favorite over Jimmy Kilrain Kelly, who pays back at (+425). Smith, who is undefeated at (21-0-1) is the first of four fighting brothers to win a world title, and he is making his first title defense. In Kelly, Smith is facing an undefeated (16-0) 23 year old who is taking a big step up in his level of competition. The rest of the card features a slew of regional titles on the line, with the most competitive bout at the books being the Lightweight 10 rounder for the vanatWBO European Title between Thomas Stalker (10-1-2) and Craig Evans (14-1-1). Stalker is coming in a (-220) favorite over Evans, who is returning at (+166). The other lines up currently appear below, but check back later in the week for additional lines. Super Welterweight – 12 rounds Kris Carslaw +600 Liam Williams -1050 Super Flyweight – 10 rounds Silvio Olteanu +1750 Paul Butler -3500

Written by Miguel

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