This weekend Joseph Parker will be looking to make himself a contender for a world title once again but first he must get through the tough-as-nails Dereck Chisora in a mouth-watering heavyweight showdown at the Manchester Arena.
It’s not all about the main event though, with plenty to get excited about across a solid undercard, including Katie Taylor, Dmitry Bivol and Chris Eubank Jr. Here’s how the rest of the card is shaping up...
Katie Taylor vs Natasha Jonas
‘The Bray Bomber’ Katie Taylor is set to defend her undisputed lightweight championship against a familiar face in Natasha Jonas. The pair fought as amateurs at the London 2012 Olympics with Taylor emerging victorious on points before going on to win gold. The volume reached 113.7 decibels that night, with only the track cycling at Velodrome witnessing higher noise levels during the Games, so fingers crossed we’ll see the same passion when the two meet as professionals this weekend.
Taylor, unbeaten after 17 pro bouts and a two-weight world champion, has set the women’s game alight since switching to the paid ranks and will be the heavy betting favourite when she steps into the ring on Saturday night but Jonas simply cannot be ruled out. The 36-year-old Liverpudlian, who is 9-1-1 (7), is full of belief and looked much-improved in her last outing, a 10-round draw against IBO and WBC super-featherweight world titlist Terri Harper last August. This fight has all the potential to steal the show.
Prediction: Katie Taylor via points - 8/13
Dmitry Bivol vs Craig Richards
WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol makes his long-awaited return to the ring this weekend when he comes face-to-face with British light-heavyweight title-holder Craig Richards, 16-1-1 (9).
Fighters don’t get much bigger than Bivol, who has been inactive since October 2019, in the light-heavyweight division and the unbeaten Russian, 17-0 (11), has established himself as one of the finest fighters at 175lbs.
Crystal Palace’s Richards, ranked fifth in the WBA rankings, was last in action back in December with an explosive knockout win over Shakan Pitters but Bivol marks a huge step up in comparison to that fight. Bivol is the heavy favourite for good reason in this one but should Richards pull off the upset, it’ll be one of the biggest shocks of the year.
Prediction: Dmitry Bivol between rounds 4 and 6 - 13/5
Chris Eubank Jr vs Marcus Morrison
Eubank’s last bout, in December 2019, was over within two rounds when he beat Matvey Korobov in New York. Before that, he picked up a unanimous verdict over Olympic gold medalist and former world champion James DeGale. There is no doubt Eubank has fought far superior opponents in comparison to Morrison, and his only defeats have come on points to Billy Joe Saunders and George Groves.
In contrast, winning the WBC international silver middleweight title has been the highlight to date for Morrison, who travelled to Italy in July 2019, stopping local favourite Emanuele Blandamura late in the fight. He’s certainly got pedigree but keep any expectations of an upset to a minimum.
Prediction: Chris Eubank Jr between rounds one and three - 9/4
James Tennyson vs Jovanni Straffon
Belfast’s James Tennyson, 28-3 (24), will fight for the vacant IBO World lightweight title against Mexico’s Jovanni Straffon, 23-3-1 (16).
‘The Assassin’ has been in devastating form since moving up to lightweight on the back of his defeat to Tevin Farmer in 2018, having strung together six consecutive wins within the distance at 135lbs. Straffon won’t fall as easily though, having never been stopped in his 27 professional bouts. Tennyson is the favourite to take the world title home and is always a joy for fight fans to watch. This one could have fireworks!
Prediction: James Tennyson to win via knockout
Elsewhere on the card in Manchester, Campbell Hatton will be making his second appearance as a professional, following on from his debut win in Gibraltar on the Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetlkin undercard last month.
Also returning to the ring is British super-welterweight champion Scott Fitzgerald, 14-0 (9), who we last saw in October 2019, beating Ted Cheeseman via unanimous decision. Neither fighter’s opponent had been revealed at the time of writing.