The Opening Round: Mikael Lawal v Isaac Chamberlain
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Saturday night was supposed to thrust either of Joshua Buatsi or Dan Azeez to the brink of a light-heavyweight world title opportunity.
The build-up had been exhilarating; two bona-fide elite level operators, and close friends, colliding under the bright lights of London’s O2 Arena with one shared goal…
… an opportunity to dethrone the WBA strap-holder, and pound-for-pound star, Dmitry Bivol.
Heartbreakingly, a back injury to Azeez in his final training session has, for now, put pay to what promised to be a truly enthralling bout; and a potential fight of the year contender.
But as Ben Shalom vowed after that news broke earlier this week; ‘the show must go on’, and my word, doesn’t it just, with another blockbuster instead being propelled to the top of the bill.
The eyes of the boxing fraternity will now hone in on Bethnal Green’s iconic York Hall setting, just six miles south-east of the O2, as foes Mikael Lawal (6/4) and 8/15 betting favourite Isaac Chamberlain finally square off with the British and Commonwealth cruiserweight belts on the line.
The pair were originally due to settle their differences earlier this year before the fight was delayed, and it looked as though they would have to wait even longer after the proposed headliner between Buatsi and Azzez was pulled just a few days before fight night.
But, the loss of that bout has instead cleared the pathway for Lawal and Chamberlain themselves to headline a thankfully re-jigged card at York Hall, and it’s one that bet365’s resident Boxing expert Rob Tebbutt cannot wait for.
“So this Saturday night at York Hall we finally see Mikael Lawal and Isaac Chamberlain lock-horns for the British cruiserweight title, and I really, really like this fight!” he told their Sports & Betting News site.
“There is real bad blood here and definite animosity – we were supposed to see this fight a couple of months ago before Lawal pulled out, as you may remember. There has been a lot of to and from between them since then, and there is genuine needle here, but I think that is going to play into Chamberlain’s hands.
“He is the more experienced operator, he has fought Lawrence Okolie, Chris Billam-Smith and even Dylan Bregeon last time out too, so I will be backing him to get the job done, and get it done inside the distance at 9/4 this weekend.
“We all know about Lawal’s punch-power, but he is very inexperienced, especially when you compare him to Isaac Chamberlain, and I just wonder whether Lawal will be able to handle that bear-pit atmosphere, at the top of the bill, inside York Hall.
“Chamberlain has been there, seen it and done it all before and he knows that his career is on the line this Saturday night, which is why I am backing him ‘By Stoppage’ at 9/4.
“I also like the look of the 4/1 for him to win ‘Between Rounds 7 – 12’; he has shown he can last late in a hard fight, and he could very well take Lawal out late on, so they will be my two betting picks for the weekend.”
Watch Rob Tebbutt’s bet365 tipping video HERE
This weekend’s stacked card also includes the equally as exciting Commonwealth super-welterweight championship showdown, and a real ‘pick-em’ fight between 4/6 hopeful Louis Greene and the narrow 6/5 outsider Sam Gilley.
The talented Karriss Artingstall – a massive 1/12 favourite – also features against former world title challenger ‘Vicious’ Vanessa Bradford (7/1), whilst hot prospect Michael Hennessy Jr (2/5) will tackle Joe Laws (2/1) in another fight that promises to deliver explosiveness and excitement.
bet365 are also offering Bet Boosts across all of Saturday night’s BOXXER action, meaning you can take advantage of even BIGGER prices on the headline bout and the full undercard, including BOOSTED Bet Builders on both Lawal and Chamberlain.
The Sports & Betting News team have also put together a comprehensive All You Need To Know guide for the main event, as well as a detailed Tale of the Tape article which houses all of the vital statistics of the two fighters.
Bet Boosts and odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.