What are the odds for Crolla v Burns and Eubank Jr v Yildirim?

Anglo-Scottish duels never fail to get the competitive juices flowing, so expect the Manchester Arena to be rocking with national pride when former world champions Anthony Crolla and Ricky Burns do battle in an Auld Enemy fight that could end the loser’s career on Saturday night.

Bet on boxing with Grosvenor Sport; Adrian Clarke, boxing guru, looks ahead to this much anticipated domestic scrap…

Burns to edge a potential epic

There’s been no trash talk, no banging of the ‘Brave Heart’ drum, and no real mention of this fight becoming some kind of hyped-up cross-border war; just mutual respect between two of Britain’s most likeable boxers.

Yes, the build-up to this lightweight bout has been refreshingly pleasant, just like the two gladiators involved, but when that first bell rings on Saturday night, neither man will hold anything back.

It’s a classic crossroads dust-up.

Crolla, 30, the have-a-go hero who came back from a fractured skull (suffered at the hands of a burglar) to land a dream world title in 2015, arrives on the back of two successive beatings by pound-for-pound climber Jorge Linares.

While there was no shame in either points’ defeat, his prospects of winning another meaningful belt will be in tatters should defeat club him round the face again this weekend.

Burns, a three-weight world champion, lost his super lightweight title to the impressive Julius Indongo in April, but remains a class act that’s only ever been beaten by high-calibre fighters.

At 34, the Scot knows his dreams of a record fourth world-level success rely on victory in the Manchester cauldron.

It’s a huge night for both men.

In terms of credentials, Burns is the man with the superior pedigree.

‘Rickster’ is a veteran of 14 world title fights – of which he’s only lost two – and over 12 championship rounds is a proven, battle-hardened winner. The longer a scrap lasts, the stronger the Scottish star usually gets.

Possessing a superb jab, powerful left cross, and solid all-around game, Burns will comfortably be the second best boxer Crolla has ever encountered.

Standing two inches taller, and with a useful three-inch reach advantage too, he will also be awkward to hit.

Age and the weight class are the doubts that surround Burns.  He’s had a long 48-fight career that may have taken its toll and is a natural super lightweight these days.

He has dropped down a division to take this challenge on, but if he’s had to work too hard to get down to 135lbs, his strength could be drained.

Crolla is as brave and busy as they come.

Always bouncing around the ring, he too will fancy himself to gain superiority in the battle of the jabs. His renowned fitness could also come into play late on.

Roared on by a packed house, at a venue where he’s enjoyed some famous nights, Crolla is certainly not an easy man to oppose – and Grosvenor Sport have him down as 11/25 favourite.

Personally, I don’t think the scales have tipped that far in Crolla’s favour.

For me, Burns is the classier boxer and even if there are question marks, I believe his ability and heart can help him claim a famous win on English soil.

It won’t be a popular decision by the judges, but I’m calling this a Burns success on points.

Crolla v Burns Prediction:

Ricky Burns 7/4

Eubank Jnr to line up a grudge Groves clash

Rumours of spectacular sparring sessions with world champion James de Gale have helped Avni Yildirim become labelled as the ‘dark horse’ of the World Boxing Super Series, but as Chris Eubank Jnr’s shy and retiring father says, “Dark horses don’t compete with stallions.”

I rate Eubank Jnr highly. I was there when he outclassed Arthur Abraham in July, and expect him to make relatively light work of the little known Turk too.

Promise in the gym is one thing, but performing at world level against a seriously hungry young fighter is another, and this feels a step too far for the unbeaten 26-year-old super-middleweight.

With a scrap for the WBA belt the carrot on the stick (the winner faces George Groves or Jamie Cox in the semi-final) I just don’t see Eubank Jnr fluffing his lines against a 16-fight rookie.

He will be too well prepared, too vicious.

You won’t get rich backing the Englishman on this one, but I fancy an easy points win, or a mid-to-late round stoppage.

Eubank Jnr isn’t super powerful at this weight, but he has bundles of skill; too much for Yildirim.

If he sets up a showdown with Groves in early 2018, boxing will also be the winner.

Eubank Jnr v Yildirim Prediction:

Chris Eubank Jnr 1/8





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