Eddie Hearn’s latest fight card in Monaco comes this Saturday and it could prove to be a fun night of fights. WBA super-flyweight champ Kal Yafai, one of the most underrated lower weight boxers around today, makes the fourth defence of his title, against Israel Gonzalez of Mexico. Britain’s Yafai, 24-0(15) has enjoyed a near two-year reign and he is in no mood to lose out on the big fights he wants now.
Gonzalez, 23-2(10) is coming off two stoppage wins over so-so opposition and he will be hoping to improve on the performance he gave when losing to Jerwin Ancajas in an unsuccessful bid for the IBF super-flyweight title in February. Yafai is a pretty big favourite to keep his belt on Saturday but Gonzalez has only been stopped by Ancajas and, like all Mexican warriors, he is tough.
The heavyweight fight between Michael Hunter and the giant Alexander Ustinov should prove interesting. Hunter, a smallish heavyweight, is coming off his biggest win to date, his October stoppage win over another fighter who outsized him in Martin Bakole. Making a quick turnaround, Hunter, beaten only by the superb Oleksandr Usyk at 200 pounds, fully believes he can go all the way to a heavyweight world title. Ustinov, at 41 years old closing in on the end of his career, was last seen losing a decision to Manuel Charr a year ago but before that defeat he had won seven in a row.
With serious advantages in height, reach and weight belonging to him against the 15-1(10) Hunter, might Ustinov, 34-2(25) prove to be too strong on Saturday? Hunter handled the weight and height of the quite disappointing Bakole okay, and the Hasim Rahman guided contender says he enjoys fighting bigger guys. Still, he is taking a potentially risky fight here. Hunter’s edge in speed should see him hammer out a decision win, but a stoppage win would be quite impressive, Ustinov having only ever been stopped once, by Kubrat Pulev.
Cruiserweight warhorse Denis Lebedev, 31-2(23) faces an unbeaten but somewhat unknown fighter in Mike Wilson, 19-0(8). Russian Southpaw Lebedev has won two since dropping a decision to Murat Gassiev in a great fight but it really is anyone’s guess how much the 39 year old has left. Wilson is no spring chicken at age 35, yet he has picked up nowhere near the amount of wear and tear Lebedev has. Anything could happen in this fight, by far the biggest yet in the career of Oregon’s Wilson. Lebedev has never been stopped of course.
British light-heavyweight Frank Buglioni, 22-3-1(16) also sees action, against unbeaten Chinese southpaw Fanlong Meng, 13-0(8), while three unbeaten prospects also get a run out. It should prove to be an entertaining card of fights.