Championship boxing makes a welcome return to terrestrial TV in this CH5 show. Boxing correspondent Frankie Monkhouse explains how to approach the betting...
"Alex came painfully close to realising a life-long dream of being champion of the world"
Yorkshire fight night
Big time boxing returns to terrestrial television this weekend when Mick Hennessy for Hennessy Sports presents a six-bout card on Channel Five from Production Park Studios in South Kirkby, Yorkshire. It has been a difficult few months for fight fans but the sport appears to be moving in the right direction again and there are some mouth-watering match ups ahead.
Top of the bill is an EBU European super featherweight title fight between Samir Ziani and Alex Dilmaghani over 12 rounds. This promises to be a competitive contest as both fighters target the win needed to catapult themselves towards the big money next year. Betfair Sportsbook users can spice up their interest by betting on the fight winner or playing one of the many eye-catching specials including the method of victory.
Ziani not a big puncher
30-year-old French southpaw Ziani travels from Blagnac with a professional record reading 31 wins against three defeats and a draw. Of his victories the 5ft 6inch fighter has bagged just six inside the distance, resulting in a lowly 17% knockout average. He's an awkward, well-schooled fighter who prefers to utilise his boxing ability and build up a lead on the scorecards to impress the judges sat at ringside.
Samir's last stoppage win came in February 2019 when halting Spain's Juli Giner to pick up the vacant European strap. Since getting his hands on the title, Ziani has beaten Colombian Warrington Orobio on points before getting the decision against Belgium's Faroukh Kourbanov in his most recent outing, winning by four rounds on two scorecards and 10 on the other. The champion last suffered defeat in 2016 and takes confidence from a nine-fight winning run.
Dilmaghani came close last time
Londoner Dilmaghani challenges to become champion of Europe with a record detailing 19 wins against one defeat and a draw. The 29-year-old from Crayford has collected eight stoppage wins so far, resulting in a 36% KO average. Also a southpaw, Alex suffered his sole defeat when losing a four-round contest early in his career against hard-working East Londoner Mickey Coveney who got the decision by a single round. That was a real blow for Dilmaghani but he didn't let it derail his plans and made a quick-fire return to winning ways.
Dilmaghani was last seen fighting out a draw against experienced Nicaraguan Francisco Fonseca with the vacant IBO world super featherweight title on the line. Alex came painfully close to realising a life-long dream of being champion of the world, the scorecards going 114-115 against him with the other two a 114-114 level finish. Dilmaghani will want to get back to winning ways as soon as possible and knows victory here would move him back towards a shot at major honours.
Traders have made their call
The pre-fight betting is available and traders on the Betfair Sportsbook have priced Ziani at 5/4 to collect win number 32 of his career and retain his European title. Those after more of a price can take their chances in the method of victory market with a points win available at 17/10 while the KO/TKO has been written off as a 10/1 play.
Dilmaghani has experience of fighting at the top level of the division and missed his chance to become champion of the world by the tightest of margins. He'll be eager to learn from that and come back stronger, which he seems more than capable of doing. Dilmaghani is 8/13 to win the fight on the Betfair Sportsbook with a KO/TKO 10/1 and points verdict 5/6.
Dilmaghani to come on strong
The stats associated with this fight tells us this one won't be over early. Neither man brings knockout power that will worry the other so that will allow both to settle into their game and use their boxing skills to impress. This will be a night for the purists amongst us.
Despite being a massive fight against a respected opponent on live TV, a European title challenge is a step down for Dilmaghani who was mixing it in world championship company just a few months ago. He'll be determined to get back to that level and should be backed to claim a strong win.