Ryan Walsh vs James Dickens: Jazza to grab shot at glory in MTK Golden Contract Final

Boxer Jazza Dickens
Jazza Dickens booked his place in the final with a points win

It's the long-awaited Golden Contract final on Wednesday night so boxing expert Frankie Monkhouse makes his prediction and recommends a bet...

"The stats suggest an early stoppage is unlikely, so this will be a battle of wits."

Ryan Walsh vs James Dickens
Wednesday, 22:00
Live on BT Sport

Hectic December awaits

This has been a difficult year for boxing lovers after the summer schedule wiped out by the coronavirus emergency and resulting lockdown. We may still be some way off a return to normality, but the noble art isn't going down without a fight.

Fans have an action-packed month ahead and the fixture list starts as it means to go on with no less than four shows live on TV this week. Highlights include Billy Joe Saunders vs Martin Murray, Anthony Yarde vs Lyndon Arthur, and Ryan Garcia vs Luke Campbell.

You'll find expert betting previews on each of those fights on the boxing section of betting.betfair. Before getting into that we warm up with Ryan Walsh vs James Dickens for the European featherweight title on Wednesday evening from Production Park Studios.

Final roll of the dice

As well as a European title fight this bout doubles as the final of the MTK Golden Contract. The winner will catapult themselves towards the big time, backed by a big-money contract and a powerful promotional team. At 34, Walsh knows this could be his last chance at mixing it with the elite of the division.

The 5ft 6inch orthodox brings a professional record consisting of 26 wins against two defeats and a couple of draws. A dozen on his victories came by way of knockout with both losses on points. The first of those defeats was against Lee Selby in 2013 before going down by a split decision to Dennis Ceylan four years ago.

Since that narrow defeat we've seen Walsh embark on a six-fight unbeaten run including a 10-round points verdict over Tyrone McCullagh in the previous round of this competition. The current betting available on the Betfair Exchange has Walsh as 1.865/6 favourite with a KO/TKO 4.84/1 and a points win trading at 2.767/4.

Jazza can jump the queue

Dickens may have been written off in the pre-fight betting but there's not a lot in it at present and his career proves he wears the underdog tag well. Liverpool's popular southpaw brings a CV reading 29 wins against three defeats with 11 KO wins and two losses coming inside the distance. He's currently ranked fifth in the UK but knows winning the Golden Contract would fast-track him to the front of the queue for the big pay days.

Dickens beat Leigh Wood in the previous round of this tournament at the York Hall back in February. He nicked a majority decision that night, secured his place in the Golden Contract final and banked the WBO European belt. Judge Chas Coakley scored the fight a 95-95 draw but Victor Loughlin had it 95-94 and Kieran McCann went 96-94 in Dickens' favour.

Those looking to stick with Jazza will find him trading at 2.245/4 on the Betfair Exchange but there's more to be had if playing the method of victory. A KO/TKO win is judged unlikely at 9.08/1 with the points yours at 2.767/4.

This will go the distance

There's so much at stake here this should be a tense affair between two talented boxers who won't want to take any unnecessary risks with their shot at the jackpot. The stats suggest an early stoppage is unlikely, so this will be a battle of wits.

Dickens is the younger man with a polished southpaw style. He was impressive last time out against Wood in Bethnal Green and is worth backing to win on points. This will be one for the purists amongst us.

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