A busy midweek of action for British fight fans, Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse takes in Wednesday's card from the famous York Hall, Bethnal Green...
"This shouldn’t be over early, and with MJW winning each of this last three with a judges’ decision, we’ll take four in-a-row at 5/2."
A festive treat for British fight fans, following Gary Corcoran's attempt to win the WBO world title v Jeff Horn in Australia on Wednesday afternoon. Sky Sports bring us a cracker from the spiritual home of British boxing - York Hall, Bethnal Green. The stars are out to shine, including Martin J Ward, Conor Benn, Josh Kelly and Katie Taylor.
Top of the bill sees Ward take on Spaniard Juli Giner for the vacant European super featherweight title, and that's where we focus our attentions. With the home corner a short-price favourite to get the win, we go rooting around in the specials markets for a share of the betting value.
Ward a nailed-on favourite
Talented Martin J Ward makes the short trip to East London from his Essex base with a professional record showing 18 wins against two draws. The first of those level finishes came when a bout with Ian Bailey was called to a halt after a clash of heads early in the four-round contest. It happens, and is best forgotten about. His other share came via a thrilling majority decision draw with old rival Maxi Hughes over 10 at this very venue three years ago. 26-year-old Ward sorted that next time out, getting off the canvas to force a retirement in five with a damaged nose.
Since seeing off Hughes, Ward has done nothing but improve, winning his next seven, a run that has earned him WBC International and British straps. Each of his three most-recent victories have come on the scorecards, and a fourth can be supported at 5/2, against a rare KO/TKO at 8/15. 1/12 has him nailed on fav in the fight winner market, all three prices available through the Betfair Sportsbook.
Giner's record does little to impress
Little is known about Spanish opponent Juli Giner, but punters must tread carefully - we've seen our fair share of big-priced upsets in the game recently, so don't be too quick to write anyone off on the say-so of betting traders. The 34-year-old doesn't do an awful lot to impress on the stats sheet however, losing two, one by KO, and drawing one of 24 previous starts. The man from Cataluna was beaten on points by Ruddy Encarnacion for a European title at featherweight in 2014, and cut down in eight by experienced Mexican Miguel Roman in Barcelona last year.
Giner quickly dusted himself down and forced his way back into the picture for major titles with three wins on the trot, the last two of those coming inside the distance, disqualification the recorded method of victory. That goes some way to explaining why Betfair traders have an upset priced at [7.20] on the Exchange, the draw bigger still, [25.0] the prize there. Two heavyweight prices, but not for us.
Spaniard isn't up to the challenge
We said the same thing about James DeGale at the weekend and called it completely wrong, but Chunky just wasn't at the races. If Martin J Ward is fit and has taken this match seriously, he should win with plenty in hand. We can't back him to claim the fight at his price, so must dig a little deeper to get a share of the value.
Giner doesn't look up to the challenge. He was stopped by Roman for his last defeat, but the Mexican is a hard man who knows every trick in the book to get his way. This shouldn't be over early, and with MJW winning each of this last three with a judges' decision, we'll take four in-a-row at 5/2. Bigger than I expected it to be.