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Bournemouth is said to have its very own unique micro-climate so you can always expect a warm welcome when you arrive in the Dorset coastal town, that is unless you’re an opponent of their beloved local hero, Chris Billam-Smith.
Londoner Lawrence Okolie turned up there in May with his WBO World cruiserweight title in his hand luggage but was sent back home empty-handed after a disastrous weekend away.
Chris Billam-Smith (18-1, 12KO) took that belt home with him after a 12-round majority points win at the Vitality Stadium, live on Sky Sports in front of 15,000 very vocal fans, flooring the visitor three times.
‘Christmas’ Billam-Smith now defends his bauble for the first time on a festive fight night on December 2 to challenger Mateusz Masternak (47-5, 31KO).
The ‘Master’ from Poland is a 36-year-old, 52-fight veteran with 47 victories. This will be his first world title shot after 17 and a half years in the pro ranks.
Ranked WBC #9 and WBO #6, Masternak has won a European title before, way back in 2012, but has only ever won regional titles and hovered in and around the top 15 in the world.
After 50 fights, almost two decades in boxing, approaching his 40s, Masternak isn’t the force he once was, but he has recently enjoyed a six-fight win streak and hasn’t lost in over three years. However, he hasn’t fought at all this year.
His last bout was in October last year – a unanimous decision win over 12-rounds against overmatched Aussie, Jason Whately.
The Polish puncher is still knocking opponents out – three from his last six fights. He likes to box on the outside and throws plenty of jabs from his high guard. He has a stand-up tall style, but he isn’t always easy to hit, he parries a lot of attacks from his gloves, which are always held up in position, his discipline is highly impressive. He uses his intelligent footwork to evade attacks, however he can be backed up and pressured, as Yuniel Dorticos proved in their 2018 clash, where the Cuban was able to trap him on the ropes and land big shots through the guard.
‘The Gentleman’ is bit more rough and ready than his opponent, preferring to box at close range where he can throw big hooks and uppercuts. He has good, all-round boxing skills, able to jab and box on the outside and can mix it up with anyone on the inside.
He is brave, powerful and wears his heart on his sleeve. He has lasted 12-rounds with the likes of Richard Riakporhe, Tommy McCarthy, Isaac Chamberlain and Lawrence Okolie, so he fares well against big punchers. Even when hurt in fights, he has shown durability and heart to be able to shake it off and come back stronger.
To win the world title against his close friend, former teammate and sparring partner – Okolie – he had to battle, brawl, tangle, wrestle, lean, shove, even fall through the ropes at one point, and fight tooth and nail to victory in one of the scrappiest world title fights ever seen. It wasn’t pretty, but he gave his all to dethrone the unbeaten champion, who had rarely been troubled by any other opponent up to that point.
Interestingly, both Billam-Smith and Masternak have stopped shared opponent Armend Xhoxhaj early. Masternak stopped him in round four in October 2021 and Billam-Smith KO’d him cold in five, just 14 months later, suggesting their power is closely matched.
I can see the challenger landing his accurate straight shots through Smith’s guard, but the Brit just took some of Okolie’s hardest punches and still won, so here’s hoping he doesn’t get troubled too much. They could both stand off and land jabs and straight shots against each other, but Billam-Smith would do better if he walks his man down and applies high pressure, which would certainly have his man backing up and retreating all fight long. Then, when he lingers by the ropes, step in to rough him up and reel off those big hooks in close.
I believe Billam-Smith will be the aggressor, constantly going forward in this fight, which will help him win favour among the ringside the judges.
If he stands at range, I can’t help but think that would suit Masternak more. Here’s hoping Chris will have the bit between his teeth, advance, dominate, command and conquer to give his faithful fans an early Christmas present.
Billam-Smith to win an entertaining fight on points or a late stoppage.
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Tim Rickson is the WhichBookie boxing analyst who joined the team midway through 2022 and will be providing boxing betting tips throughout the year for all of the big fights.
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If you’d like to back any of the selections, we recommend a bookmaker to do so with. These are usually the bookies offering the best odds on the selection at the time of posting the tip but it may be worth checking other bookies in case the odds have changed. There may also be betting offers associated with the tip that are only available with specific bookmakers that are worth taking into consideration.
We never recommend an actual stake to use for each bet as this will vary between people depending on the size of their betting bank. Never bet more than you can afford to lose and always stick to your staking plan.
WhichBookie boxing analyst Tim Rickson will publish tips whenever he finds value in a bet. If there is a big fight coming up, it’s likely that he will cover it but generally, they’ll be posted whenever a good bet comes about.
Many of the big boxing matches are only available via Pay Per View. However, you may be able to find streams of some of the less-popular fights via the Bet365 Live Streaming service. Bet365 provides over 100,000 live streams of sporting events every year and is regarded as one of the best services for streaming sports online without charge.
There are several options when it comes to betting on boxing, and the more you know, the better your chances of success. We will now go into more detail about some of the different betting markets that you will find, and discuss a few potential strategies you could use.
As with most sports, the outright market is probably the simplest, because you’re just betting on who will win the fight. There are no other criteria to consider, other than the fact that with many of the best bookies for boxing, you can also bet on the draw. However, draws in boxing are very rare and not many people tend to back this outcome.
Bear in mind that in many fights, one boxer tends to be a heavy favourite and it’s usually quite easy to pick the winner. There don’t tend to be that many shock results. Therefore, the odds on the favourite are often very low, even if you use the bookie with the best odds as described earlier in the article.
If you’re happy betting at short odds, you can certainly get a good success rate simply by backing short price favourites in boxing. But many people prefer to look for bigger wins. So you may sometimes need to look at some of the other markets to get a better return on your bet.
This market lets you choose not only who will win the fight, but how they will win. Different methods of victory are usually grouped as follows:
So because there are more possible outcomes in this market, the odds are higher than just the outright win market.
The Round Betting market offers the opportunity to get the highest odds. Here you can bet on which fighter will win, and which round he/she will win in.
Options to bet on a fighter to win on points, or to bet on the draw, are both also included in this market. In a 12 round bout, that gives 27 different possible outcomes. Therefore, the odds on each one are naturally going to be much higher. Think of it as the equivalent of the correct score market in football betting.
So the round betting market offers the biggest potential wins when betting on boxing. But of course, it’s harder to predict the outcome. You do have the option to split your stake to cover more than one outcome though. So if you felt that a fighter would win within the first 3 rounds, you could split your stake to back him to win in round 1, round 2 and round 3. The odds would mean you’d get a good profit if any of those outcomes happened.
This is a simple market in which you decide whether the fight will last all 12 rounds or not. Therefore there are only two outcomes to bet on, Yes or No.
It’s possible to get a decent success rate when betting on this market. Check the stats and the history of each boxer and ask yourself the following:
The answers to these key questions should give you a good idea of whether the fight is likely to go the distance or not. There can still be surprises, but you’ll certainly win more bets than you lose.
This market allows you to bet on the total number of rounds the fight will last for. The advantage here is that you do not need to specify who will win, just how long it will last.
For example, let’s consider a market of Over/Under 3.5 Rounds. There are only two options to bet on, either Over 3.5 Rounds or Under 3.5 Rounds. Therefore, you would approach the market as follows:
You will find that similar markets are available for Over/under 4.5, Over/Under 5.5, Over/Under 6.5 etc.
As any professional punter will tell you, the key to making a profit is not knowing who will win every time. Because obviously, that is not possible. The real trick is making sure that when you do win, you get the best possible odds on your bet.
We studied the odds for outright bets on every professional boxing match over a period of three months. We wanted to find the best bookies for boxing odds over a prolonged period of time.
As you would expect, Betfair and Bet365 are better than most of the competition. But the results showed that Betfred have the highest odds overall and came out well in some of the other markets like round betting.
Betfred were consistently best or equal best odds on nearly every outright market we recorded. They blew some of the other online bookies away in terms of the value they offered on boxing, and their user ratings are good too. So if you don’t have an account with them yet, we would definitely recommend joining.
|Best Bookies For Boxing|