Thursday 26 November 2015

Wladimir Klitschko vs Tyson Fury

I likely risk being labelled an old fart for pointing that that boxing isn't what it was 'in my day' but there's something to that. We really don't see all that many 'fight nights' worth staying in for. There aren't many big name bouts to speack of nor an awful lot of characters in boxing now. Tyson Fury certainly ticks that last box though. Depending on your point of view, he likely falls somewhere between a character and a nutcase, what with his karaoke moments and often bizarre outbursts. In terms of character, he's quite the opposite of Klitschko in almost every way.

Of course none of the theatrics matter once you're in the ring and of the two fighters Klitschko clearly has far more going for him. In terms of his record and boxing ability, other than questioning how exciting he is to watch, Klitschko is a formidable opponent and the few blips he's experienced in his career happened over a decade ago now. Fury, although undefeated has not fought a tremendous amount of what I'd call top flight fighters so could be in for a shock come Saturday 28th. On the plus side for him, he matches his oppoent in stature.

As he was in July, Klitschko is 1-4 to win the fight, which is about right in my view. He's not going to make it easy for Fury to get past his guard and is an intelligent fighter. If Tyson does get through though, he has a puncher's chance as Klitschko's main weakness from the past is that on the rare occasions he does get caught, he's not quick to recover. There's not much value in betting at 1-4 really so I would be tempted to go for Wladimir Klitschko by KO, TKO or Disqualification at Evens. I don't think it'll go the distance as I see Fury going all guns blazing in the early and middle rounds in an all or nothing approach.

This is Fury's chance to get his hands on the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles so I in no way undermine his determination and focus, but I do believe he's got his work cut out.

Selection: Wladimir Klitschko by KO, TKO or Disqualification at Even Money

Monday 9 November 2015

Bosnia-Herzegovina versus Republic of Ireland, Friday, November 13

The Republic of Ireland is likely to be without key personnel for its European Championship qualifying play-off first leg in Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday. Defender John O’Shea and striker Jonathan Walters are suspended after being sent off and booked, respectively, in the 2-1 loss in Poland and striker Shane Long, who has an ankle injury, is also a major doubt.

The only previous meeting between the sides, in a friendly in Dublin in 2012, resulted in a 1-0 win for the home side, but the Bosnians have since qualified for 2014 FIFA World Cup, so may be a different proposition this time. Indeed, they’re on a winning streak, having defeated Andorra 3-0, Wales 2-0 and Cyprus 3-2 in their last three competitive matches to finish third in Group B behind Belgium and Wales. They’re looking to make it to their first UEFA European Championship but, with former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko leading the line, they’re worthy favourites on home turf.

The lack of top-class centre forward is the obvious weakness in Martin O’Neill’s side, so let’s go for Bosnia-Herzegovina to record a hard-fought 1-0 win.

Selection: Bosnia-Herzegovina to win 1-0 (11/2 with 888Sport and Unibet)