CALLUM SMITH utilizing Pawel Stepian as goal apply was not one of many can’t miss fights of 2023 however its cancellation, because of the Englishman struggling an harm, has certainly affected the attraction of this Saturday’s occasion on the Echo Enviornment.
So as an alternative of seeing Smith warming up for a proposed shot at light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev, followers in Liverpool and DAZN subscribers should make do with two 10-rounders in co-headline slots.
The curtain nearer can be Matchroom’s 21-year-old hotshot Diego Pacheco, 17-0 (14), doing battle with the proprietor of boxing’s most interesting nickname – “Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver” – Jack Cullen, 21-3-1 (9), over 10 rounds within the super-middleweight division. Earlier than that, Kirkby’s Robbie Davies Jnr, 23-3 (15), takes on 34-year-old Irish southpaw, Darragh Foley, 21-4-1 (9) in a super-lightweight contest.
The jury remains to be out on Pacheco, however he unquestionably has a lot of potential. From Los Angeles and standing a wiry 6ft 4ins, Pacheco began boxing on the age of 10 and gained quite a few newbie titles earlier than signing skilled phrases with Matchroom on the finish of 2018. Now skilled by Jose Benavidez Snr, this marks his first look as a headliner and it’s his debut within the UK.
The event shouldn’t part him. He has appeared on a number of enormous playing cards prior to now, along with his two most up-to-date bouts (stoppage wins over Enrique Collazo and Ricardo Adrian Luna) among the many help for Saul Alvarez-Gennadiy Golovkin III in September and Juan Francisco Estrada-Roman Gonzalez III in December.
Cullen, solely an inch shorter at 6ft 3ins, ought to present a strong take a look at. The 29-year-old noticed a run of excellent type, that included a draw with Zak Chelli and wins over John Docherty and Avni Yildirim, thwarted when he encountered one other revered unbeaten worldwide opponent, France’s Kevin Lele Sadjo. That December 2021 bout was gained by Sadjo in six rounds. Cullen’s solely motion since then was a simple eight-round factors win over Vladimir Belujsky final April.
Although Cullen all the time comers with ambition, the momentum could be very a lot with Pacheco. A win for the house fighter is just not the end result Matchroom can be hoping for, with the American very a lot being groomed for giant issues. Hearn calls Pacheco the most effective prospects on this planet whereas the fighter himself believes victory right here will see him flip from prospect to contender.
“They’re all saying he’s a famous person,” Cullen, who had been sparring Callum Smith and is skilled by Michael Jennings, noticed. “But when he thinks he’s coming over right here and simply getting somebody who’s going to step over, he’s obtained one other factor coming. He’s making a giant mistake.”
Pacheco, who has relocated to Seattle to coach full-time with Benavidez after rising uninterested in Los Angeles, is unlikely to come back badly ready. The studious teenager, who’s combating to offer for his household, is a daily sparring companion of David Benavidez and is keen to enhance. Anticipate Cullen to offer this all he’s obtained however the choose is for Pacheco, an clever physique puncher, to once more underline his potential with a stoppage within the second half.
Davies Jnr, on a three-fight win streak, is having fun with life with coach Shane McGuigan however was disillusioned when Aussie Liam Paro needed to pull out of Saturday’s present after fracturing his cranium in coaching. Substitute Foley, who lives in Bondi, Australia, might give Robbie a tough struggle, nonetheless.
A 34-year-old southpaw, Foley has fought predominantly in his adopted homeland however his three appearances in British rings all ended with out victory. In 2018, his Glasgow bout with Chris Jenkins ended a technical draw after three rounds and Akeem Ennis Brown beat him over 10 at York Corridor. The next 12 months, over the identical distance, Foley was dropped within the eighth earlier than arising quick on the playing cards in Belfast. In every of these three contests, Foley was aggressive and we anticipate the same situation right here, with Davies taking the decision.
In one other 10-rounder, 27-year-old Warrington southpaw Rhiannon Dixon, 7-0, must be favoured to edge out Wombourne’s Vicky Wilkinson, 5-0-1, over the gap. The vacant Commonwealth light-weight title is the prize for the winner of this well-matched contest.
Playing cards typically don’t get cancelled when heavyweight Johnny Fisher is on them, such is the help he ensures. Greater than 1,000 followers of “The Romford Bull” are anticipated to make the journey north to look at the bettering 27-year-old, 7-0 (6), tackle 37-year-old Italian, Alfonso Damiani, 6-2 (2), over eight rounds.
Additionally in motion: Liverpool’s wonderful super-bantamweight portsider Peter McGrail, 6-0 (5), is scheduled to deal with his first 10-rounder; Hyde’s Campbell Hatton, 9-0 (3), fights Italian Michel Gonxhe, 4-2-1 and there are runouts for Oldham light-weight Aquib Fiaz, Chester super-middleweight Paddy Lacey and Billericay’s George Liddard.
THE VERDICT – Missing a bona fide star attraction however necessary that the present goes forward so the fighters can receives a commission.