Boxing Betting: Back Bellew to win on points and Derry Matthews to beat Anthony Crolla

Alex Steedman thinks Tony 'The Bomber' Bellew has what it takes to beat Isaac Chilemba on Saturday night...


There is definitely a buzz about boxing in Liverpool at the moment and fast-talking, big-punching ticket seller Tony Bellew is enjoying the ride. And with the city  preparing to celebrate the forthcoming Grand National, Bellew must himself negotiate a tricky obstacle in Isaac Chilemba this weekend if he is to realise his own  International ambitions.

Bellew is ranked No1 contender with the WBC while Chilemba is just above him in both the WBO and WBA rankings so he is on the brink of another world title fight.  Remember Bellew was a very last minute substitute when narrowly failing to dethrone WBO champion Nathan Cleverly 18 months ago. Since then Bellew's reputation has  soared along with his ranking and there is a growing maturity coursing through his work. He looks ready for the next, big step but he must keep winning.


Isaac Chilemba is not just an opponent, this is a potential platform for him too so expect his performance to reflect the opportunity but you do question whether he is  quite good enough. Chilemba outpointed faded star Edison Miranda last February and Miranda was stopped in nine rounds seven months later by Bellew. Prior to that  Chilemba earned a split-decision draw against unbeaten South African Thomas Oosthuizen so he has the ability if not enough to excite you into backing him.


Bellew though is developing into a rounded fighter, perhaps a lesson learned from his up-and-down victory over Ovill McKenzie three years ago, which means he's more  disciplined these days and a championship, distance fighter because of it. 'Bomber' still has the power, the two early knockdowns he registered against Roberto Bolonti  in November were enough to encourage the Argentinian into his shell but he was careful in his rematch (points win) against McKenzie previously and certainly took his  time against the faded Miranda. Personally I think Bellew over-egged the pudding in both wins, something he'll have to be careful of in future title fights because I  sense Bellew thinks he's doing better than he actually is.


But this is an opportunity to look good against a credible opponent with the backing of home support and Bellew is expected to rise to the occasion. Tony was  outstanding under pressure last time when seriously cut, knowing defeat would plunge his future into doubt. His mature response was the stuff of a champion and a win  here would put him closer to being just that. If Chilemba gets through the first few rounds it might be another distance win for Bellew.



Recommended Bet

Back Tony Bellew to beat Isaac Chilemba by Decision/Technical Decision @ 2.3



Support act to Bellew is a rematch of last April's terrific scrap between Derry Matthews and Anthony Crolla, a bout Matthews surprisingly won by sixth round stoppage  after a compelling battle.


Matthews turned that fight around with a lovely uppercut to claim the British Lightweight crown, a belt he subsequently lost when stopped himself by former world  champion Gavin Rees. Like Bellew, Matthews is a scouser with home support and this is a classic Liverpool v Manchester match.


Both men lost at the semi-final stage of October's Prizefighter but don't read too much into that and they've both won since. Crolla might have had the better  preparation for a battle having come through a tear-up with Kieran Farrell in December though Farrell was stretchered from the ring that night and sadly has been  forced to retire.


I'm not sure if that will be an issue at all but Crolla has seemed focused when I've worked alongside him on BoxNation. Matthews has locked himself away at camp up in  Scotland and both seem in excellent shape. This is a toss-up.


Tactically, Matthews got it right last time, working his chances from distance and using the uppercut well against an in-range fighter. You sense that he might just  have the style to beat Crolla again although I'm expecting an improved effort from Anthony. He made the better start last time and hurt Matthews to the body; If the  fight goes past halfway I would fancy Crolla to emerge victorious from a gruelling contest but it won't be easy.


Crolla fights in close range to his opponent so he needs to be tough and energetic in behind that tight guard. It means he is always in for a hard night and this is  certain to be that. Crolla was 1.15 favourite to beat Matthews last time and I sense there is feeling Derry might have produced the performance of his life to win and  therefore might not be able to repeat it. I get that theory but I'm not sure I agree. If push comes to shove down the stretch then Crolla probably wins but Matthews  has the style and punch to prevail again in what promises to be a roller coaster contest.


Recommended Bet

Back Derry Matthews to win at 2.4


(Source: Betfair)




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