It’s only been eight weeks since Lewis Crocker (18-0 10KO) claimed the biggest win of his career but he will headline once again in Belfast this weekend as he takes on dangerous puncher Jose Felix over ten rounds.
Now undefeated in eighteen contests, Crocker is an exciting prospect and promoter Eddie Hearn is clearly keen to capitalise on his growing Belfast fan base.
By beating former world title challenger Tyrone McKenna in December, Crocker announced himself as a serious prospect in the 147lb division. Before that fight, McKenna had only been beaten by fighters competing at world title level and Crocker beat him comfortably and was unlucky not to secure a stoppage.
Despite searching for that elusive stoppage, the 27-year-old identified that he couldn’t stop McKenna and decided to use his boxing IQ to dominate and that’s an impressive trait for such an inexperienced fighter.
However, it’s not all positive for the undefeated man. At Friday’s weigh in, he came in 3lbs above the welterweight limit and some are now wondering if he has taken this fight to soon after that victory over McKenna. The weight miss was rightly scrutinised and it adds pressure onto the home fighter to perform and not derail his momentum by losing to Jose Felix.
Upsetting home prospects is something of a trademark for Jose Felix and he is returning to the scene of his most famous victory this weekend. In May 2023, the experienced Mexican was drafted in as an opponent for the then unbeaten Gary Cully and despite being a huge underdog, he knocked Cully out inside three brutal rounds.
The 31-year-old has a deceiving record of 40-6-1 (31KO) which means he is often viewed as just an ‘opponent’ on paper but it is important to appreciate his early career before making judgement. In Mexico, it is considered normal for boxers to turn over at 17/18 years old and have several fights per year and Felix was no different and with that early introduction to professional sport, losses are to be expected.
Despite the weight miss, Crocker deserves to be favourite but he will need to approach this with fight with caution and not make the same mistakes as Gary Cully and this looks like a fight that will go into the second half. With that in mind, at least eight completed rounds at 13/10 is the play here.
On the undercard, undefeated cruiserweight Cheavon Clarke takes a step up against former European champion Tommy McCarthy. Clarke was a member of Team GB and has a growing reputation but this is just his eighth fight and McCarthy will have home advantage.
The atmosphere will be electric when McCarthy enters the ring and Clarke will need to stay calm and box to instruction. If he does, he can claim the biggest win of his professional career but he may need the help of the ringside judges.
Also, this weekend, two-time world title challenger John Ryder travels to the USA to take on super middleweight champion Jaime Munguia. Now 36, Ryder is rolling the dice one last time here but he will need a career best performance if his going to become the first man to beat Munguia in 42 fights, especially on away soil.
Ryder is a throwback fighter who adopts the ‘have gloves, will travel’ attitude and because of that he will always get opportunities but this feels like a step to far at this stage of his career. He hasn’t fought since losing to Canelo Alvarez in May 2023 and although he heard the final bell on that night, he was beaten convincingly and that fight could have taken a lot out of him.
Despite the impressive 42-0 record, Munguia has been carefully managed to this point but he will view this is as a good opportunity to beat a man that has recently fought Canelo and that is the fight he is ultimately chasing.
Ryder will give a good account of himself as always but at this stage of his career, this looks a very difficult task. This may be close early but Munguia will be chasing a stoppage and don’t be surprised if the referee jumps calls a halt to this contest in the second half of the fight.
BACK At least eight completed rounds in Crocker vs Felix 1pt at 13/10 (⭐
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BACK Cheavon Clarke to win by decision 1pt at 3/1 (⭐
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BACK Jaime Munguia to win by KO/TKO 1pt at 2/1 (⭐
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