Chris Bourke v Marc Leach
Live on BT Sport
Friday fight night
Live professional boxing returns to our screens on Friday evening with promoter Frank Warren staging a stacked card at the world-famous York Hall, Bethnal Green. This venue was voted in the top five places to watch boxing in the world due to its electric atmosphere and the history attached to the East London hall. It doesn't share the grandeur of Alexandra Palace or the capacity of the O2 Arena but what it does produce is thrilling bouts.
Every boxer dreams of competing at the York Hall, and when they get their chance, they make it count. Friday will be no different as Chris Bourke battles Marc Leach for the vacant British super-bantamweight title. The winner of this bout will shunt themselves into contention for major honours, including European and world titles, but which fighter will have their hand raised?
Bourke is the main attraction
Londoner Bourke will enjoy the backing of the crowd on fight night as he aims to improve on his already impressive 10-0-0 record. The 27-year-old from Streatham has six stoppage wins on his card and is ranked number seven in the UK at super bantamweight, a list topped by Jason Cunningham and Gamal Yafai. He is also ranked number 70 in the world but knows a convincing win at the Mecca of British boxing would help change that.
Bourke was last seen in action beating James Beech Jr at Wembley Arena on the undercard of Joe Joyce's stoppage win over Carlos Takam. Bourke was a footnote on the programme that night but now gets his chance to fight on top of the bill, coming out as the main attraction of the evening. That comes with its own pressures, but Chris has already shown composure and experience beyond his years, and he's likely to take this in his stride.
Will Bourke take this opportunity with both hands and use it to launch himself through the world rankings? You can back Bourke to win the fight at odds of 1.42/5 on the Betfair Sportsbook with a points win trading at 2.255/4 and the KO/TKO a 3.613/5 play.
Livewire here to crash the party
The majority of fans packed into the Bethnal Green small hall on Friday will be there to support Bourke, but that won't put Leach off his stride. He is here to crash the party and intends to take the silence the crowd, take the belt back home to Salford and get the wheels in motion for a successful year in his career. He knows victory over Bourke would transform his CV overnight.
Marc is a 27-year-old southpaw with a professional record detailing 17 wins against one defeat and a draw. Bobby Jenkinson inflicted the sole loss on his card, but that came on debut in Bolton more than seven years ago. Leach deserves praise for fighting back from there, rescuing his career after getting off to the worst possible start. He is unbeaten since, winning 17 but scoring only four knockouts.
Leach won his last bout by first round stoppage and arrives in London with momentum behind his work. Will he claim another big win? Leach is priced at 2.8815/8 on the Sportsbook to claim victory in London. Those after a bigger price may find joy in the method of victory market. The points win is 3.55/2 with a second KO/TKO on the bounce yours at 1312/1.
Experience will be the difference
Two southpaws rarely make for an attractive bout, and the stats attached to these fighters suggest this one will go long into the night. Bourke is the local lad with an unbeaten record and the backing of the support. Leach is more experienced, on an extended winning run and ranked higher in the UK and the world.
This bout looks certain to go into the latter stages, and that's when the experience of seasoned campaigner Leach will pay off. He has boxed 10 rounds or more in four of his last five, winning those bouts on the scorecards. We're going with more of the same.