By James Slater: Three intriguing fights are set to go down at Wembley Arena in London on November 5th, as unbeaten George Groves will face Paul Smith in defence of his British and Commonwealth super-middleweight titles, Ricky Burns and Australian warrior Michael Katsidis will clash for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight title, and heavyweights Dereck Chisora and Larry Olubamiwo will both hit the comeback trail against one another in a non-title 10-rounder.
Boxrec have the three fights listed as a go, and big Larry has excitedly announced via his Face book page that his fight with Chisora is on.
Groves, making the first defence of the two titles he unified by beating archrival James DeGale back in May, will be facing a fighter who has been stopped by “Chunky.” However, Smith, 31-2 (17) – the other loss coming on points over ten against Steven Bendall back in 2008 – feels he had a bad night against DeGale, and that he will defeat Groves and then earn a return with the only man to have stopped him as a pro.
Groves, 13-0(10) is the younger man by quite a margin at age 23 (Smith is 28) and he is coming in off that massive win over the trash-talking DeGale. Can Groves go one better than DeGale and stop Smith faster than he did? Can Groves actually beat the fired up “Smigga?” Groves is the favourite and he has to be the pick to win, but it could be tough. I see Groves winning a hard-fought points verdict.
The heavyweight co-main event looks, on paper, a more straightforward fight to call. Former British and Commonwealth champ Chisora, having his first fight back since losing his unbeaten record to Tyson Fury, looks to have too much skill, experience and ring savvy for the immaculately-conditioned and impressively-muscled Olubamiwo. “The War Machine,” as 32-year-old late starter Olubamiwo is known, is also coming off a crushing 1st-round loss to John McDermott. The form book, if it is to be adhered to here, seriously suggests a win for “Del Boy.”
However, how has Chisora’s confidence been affected by the loss to Fury? And will the 27-year-old be able to get himself sufficiently “up” for this fight? Chisora, who admits he came in overweight for the Fury fight in July, should be hungry to return to winning ways, therefore he should be as up as he needs to be for November 5th. If he is, and if he fails to underestimate Olubamiwo, 10-2(9), it looks like being a bad night for the older man.
Then again, Olubamiwo can bang, and if he catches an advancing Chisora, 14-1(9) smack on the chin anything can happen. I don’t see this one going too far. It could be lively while it lasts, and Olubamiwo always has that puncher’s chance; but I see “Del Boy” taking his man out in an impressive-looking “I’m back” statement. I go for Chisora to win inside four-rounds.
(It has also been announced by promoter Frank Warren that the signed Ricky Burns-Michael Katsidis fight for the vacant WBO lightweight belt will top the big Wembley card. As such, we have one great night in store for Guy Fawkes Night!)