BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions

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BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions & Results

Pintsized Background

After losing Hearn’s Matchroom, Sky Sports continue their scramble to put out a half-decent boxing showing. Affiliation with Top Rank ensures quality events, but at the price of late nights for UK fans. In steps, the BOXXER series. Eight domestic fighters of wildly differing quality, placed into a one-night three-fight (round-robin tournament (quite the mouthful). With just three total rounds per fight, the format favors the heavy-hitters and polished former amateurs.

The semi-finals and final will only be decided on the night following initial results, but I have taken a stab in the dark at predicting the most likely match-ups. Often with tournaments such as BOXXER Series 1, the fighter who can avoid a taxing war in the earlier rounds can overcome a superior fighter down the line who hasn’t been as fortunate.

Prefer to read up on the other boxing action this weekend? No worries. Peep our preview of Top Rank: Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder III. Prefer a review of last weekend’s event to jog the memory, read MAFB: Joshua vs Usyk Review.

Unconvinced by Pintsized’s mystical predicting powers? Take a look at our prediction success last month detailed in Boxing Predictions Results: October 2021.

There is something about one-night tournaments that are so appealing in boxing | BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions
There is something about one-night tournaments that are so appealing in boxing | BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions

BOXXER Series 1: Quarter-Finals

Lee Appleyard (17-6-1, 5KO) vs Levi Kinsiona (8-1, 1KO)

Super Lightweight (140)

Lee Appleyard

One of the oldies, the former English Lightweight title is searching for one last career push at thirty-three years old. After his sixth-round beating against Dalton Smith just six months ago, Appleyard’s time in the ring appeared all but buried.

Re-watching the Smith fight once again confirmed Appleyard’s crazy chin/heart. The veteran has the experience to weather an early opening round storm, but critically he is unwilling to trade in the pocket. Opting to absorb the shots on the ropes, Appleyard bides his time before unloading his combinations. In a nine-minute fight, there isn’t enough time for the veteran to patiently trade combinations with his opponent. If Appleyard attempts to ply a counter-striking game as he did against Smith, Kinsiona’s forward pressure and volume will clean up the scorecards.

Levi Kinsiona

David Allen managed, Levi Kinsiona, is taking his first big step-up in competition. Aside from a shock seventh-round TKO loss to banana-skin journeyman, Nathan Bendon, Kinsiona has otherwise proven himself to be a classy operator. The Sheffield Hallam student represents one of Pintsized’s dark horses to potentially make a run to the final on Saturday night.

In the most brutal fashion, it would require Kinsiona to up his game to the bright lights. An intense media spotlight often breaks fighters but Kinsiona’s style lends itself to this format. Walking down opponents with frequent straight shots, low hands to bait opponents out of their shell, and a willingness to rip extended combinations against the ropes – it will only be Kinsiona’s chin and conditioning that may prove troublesome.

Predicted Result: Kinsiona Decision

David Allen managed, Levi Kinsiona, is taking his first big step-up in competition. An intense media spotlight often breaks fighters but Kinsiona’s style lends itself to this format. If Appleyard attempts to ply a counter-striking game as he did against Dalton Smith, Kinsiona’s forward pressure and volume will clean up the scorecards. It will only be Kinsiona’s chin and conditioning that may prove troublesome.

Result: Appleyard def. Kinsiona /// Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Tempers flared at the weigh-in as Lee Appleyard unleashed his tough guy routine | BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions
Tempers flared at the weigh-in as Lee Appleyard unleashed his tough guy routine | BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions

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Sean Dodd (17-5-1, 3KO) vs Cori Gibbs (13-0, 3KO)

Super Lightweight (140)

Sean Dodd

Long-time servant of the domestic scene, Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd, fancies himself as the favourite of the tournament. It’s easy to understand why. Facing one of the odds-maker’s favourite, Cori Gibbs, if Dodd can get through the quarters relatively unscathed – the momentum from the statement win could carry him alone. Moreover, Dodd already carries victories over Tom Farrell and Lee Appleyard – two fellow BOXXER competitors.

The Liverpudlian never managed to make the necessary step-up against Tommy Coyle, a technically limited fighter but an athletic beast. Conversely, Dodd was out-slicked by former Olympian, Joe Cordina. Dodd’s career victory came over Francesco Patera, a top European Lightweight, and if the Birkenhead man can channel just a fraction of the magic from five years ago he could shock everyone. The explosive bursts from the former Commonwealth champion, off both the front-foot and back-foot, ensure that Dodd comfortably maintains his preferred mid-range. A lack of pop to the punches may fail to stop the most determined pressure fighters, however.

Cori Gibbs

Undefeated Birmingham prospect, Cori Gibbs, is finally set to test his amateur mettle at a higher professional level. A 4x National Champion, British Champion, and two years spent of the GB Squad, Gibbs is expected to represent the cleanest boxing fundamentals. Two years out of the ring and a lack of comparable experience to Dodd, however, leaves red flags over the ease with which many expect Gibbs to breeze the tournament.

There is no denying Gibbs’ slick boxing ability, however. Last time out against Jamie Quinn, Gibbs wheeled around the border of the ring – picking away with his jab and short combinations that worked through or around Quinn’s stoic high guard. I really, really want Gibbs to prove me wrong and cement himself as firmly above his domestic counterparts – but without a victory over an opponent holding a winning record, it is too risky to back the Brummie.

Predicted Result: Dodd Decision

Dodd’s career victory came over Francesco Patera, a top European Lightweight, while Cori Gibbs has never beaten an opponent with a winning record while also having been out of the ring for two years. There is no denying Gibbs’ slick boxing ability. There is a natural ease to the fluid footwork and creative combinations that Gibbs unloads. Unfortunately for the Brummie man, Dodd’s experience is too much to overlook – especially in the three-round format.

Result: Gibbs def. Dodd /// Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
A fresh-faced Francesco Patera was stunned by Sean Dodd a few moons ago | BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions
A fresh-faced Francesco Patera was stunned by Sean Dodd a few moons ago | BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions

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Tom Farrell (18-4, 5KO) vs Ben Fields (10-10-2, 0KO)

Super Lightweight (140)

Tom Farrell

Perhaps overwhelming support for Farrell is due to his hometown status, but I fail to see how Farrell can make a solid run on Saturday night. The Scouser is a far cry from his 2016 successes, where he secured the WBA International Title against Farid Hakimi. Since an embarrassing beat-down by Ohara Davies, Farrell has embarked on a 5-3 run against tame opposition. It was only two months ago that Farrell lost to Edvinas Puplauskas (6-28), being knocked down three times in the process.

While Fields has never secured a knockout in his professional career, Farrell still cannot afford to be so complacent. Fields is a tenacious pressure fighter who will prevent Farrell any space to catch his breath. The durability appears to be all but gone in Farrell and combined with his long stance and cement feet, the Liverpudlian is a prime target to be stopped at some point during BOXXER.

Ben Fields

Kicking a decade-long crack cocaine addition and criminal past through the sport, Ben Fields is one of many feel-good stories that populate the professional scene. Now a prevalent member in his community, working with the youth to offer opportunities unavailable to himself, Fields is an easy underdog to get behind.

Despite Fields’ disgusting 10-10-2 record, the Brummie fighter isn’t the push-over that the paper suggests. You need only watch Fields’ spirited eight-round pressuring of Sam Maxwell to understand the relentless volume and aggression that could well suit this format extremely well. Learning on the job, without the amateur pedigree of many new pros, Fields’ quality is evident in the second half of his career. Victories over Andrew Fleming, Nathan Bennett, and Alex Fearon all justify Fields’ placement in BOXXER.

Predicted Result: Fields Decision

Since an embarrassing beat-down by Ohara Davies, Farrell has embarked on a 5-3 run against tame opposition. It was only two months ago that Farrell lost to Edvinas Puplauskas (6-28), being knocked down three times in the process. While Fields has never secured a knockout in his professional career, his relentless volume and aggression will prevent Farrell any room to breathe. Questionable durability and cement footwork will leave Farrell a sitting duck in an ugly and presumably razor-close affair.

Result: Farrell def. Fields /// Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Tom Farrell is no stranger to hitting the deck, will his durability end his tournament hopes early? | BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions
Tom Farrell is no stranger to hitting the deck, will his durability end his tournament hopes early? | BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions

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Kane Gardner (11-1, 6KO) vs Nathan Bennett (9-2, 2KO)

Super Lightweight (140)

Kane Gardner

Trading wins with fellow competitor, Ben Fields, Kane Gardner represents the fighting pride of Manchester. Having represented England at the amateurs, Gardner enters with a decent mix of amateur and professional experience. Representing one of the harder hitters at Super Lightweight, Gardner could make a name for himself based on stoppages.

A stalking aggressor, Gardner’s best work appears when he is allowed free reign over the centre of the ring. An inability to cut off the ring allows opponents to move with his power. On the rare occasions that opponents plant their feet, or end up voluntarily trapped on the ropes, Gardner’s natural power shines.

Nathan Bennett

A lumbering bully in the ring, Bennett and Gardner’s power struggle over the centre of the ring is designed to create fireworks. With neither man willing to take a step back, Gardner’s extra firepower could well prove the deciding factor.

Bennett’s slick left hand could throw a spanner in the works for Gardner, however. Continually wafting it in front of opponents to block their vision, Bennett can whip non-telegraphed short left hooks that sting. Without any notable head movement to speak of, and a tendency to leave his hands low after throwing, Bennett is expected to be knocked over at some point by Gardner.

Predicted Result: Gardner TKO Round 3

Bennett and Gardner’s power struggle over the centre of the ring is designed to create fireworks. With neither man willing to take a step back, Gardner’s extra firepower could well prove the deciding factor. Bennett’s slick left hand could throw a spanner in the works, often used to whip non-telegraphed short left hooks that sting. Without any notable head movement to speak of, and a tendency to leave his hands low after throwing, Bennett is expected to be knocked over at some point by Gardner.

Result: Gardner def. Bennett /// Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
There will be an almighty battle for the centre of the ring between Nathan Bennett and Kane Gardner | BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions
There will be an almighty battle for the centre of the ring between Nathan Bennett and Kane Gardner | BOXXER Series 1: Liverpool Predictions

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BOXXER Series 1: Semi-Finals

Ben Fields (10-10-2) vs Kane Gardner (11-1, 6KO)

Super Lightweight (140)

Once again, Fields has a great chance to sneak a decision based on his disgusting forward pressure that many opponents in the competition have yet to face. Gardner’s quality off the front-foot is undeniable, the lumbering power-puncher earns respect with ease. Fields has never been stopped, or remotely looked close to being finished, throughout a tough career. It has already depended on whether the scorers prefer Fields’ aggression to see him through the quarters. If he has made it to the semis, then a repeat of his performance is likely to earn him the nod again.

Predicted Result: Fields Decision

Gardner’s quality off the front-foot is undeniable, the lumbering power-puncher earns respect with ease. Fields has never been stopped, or remotely looked close to being finished, throughout a tough career. Field’s placement in the semis has already depended on whether the scorers rate his aggression. If he has made it to the semis, then a repeat of his performance is likely to earn him the nod again.

Result: Farrell def. Gardner /// Decision (majority – 28-28, 29-27, 29-27)

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Levi Kinsiona (8-1, 1KO) vs Sean Dodd (17-5-1, 3KO)

Super Lightweight (140)

The semis are likely to be a road too far for young, Kinsiona. Whether it is Dodd or Gibbs in the opposite corner, Kinsiona’s tall upright stance is wide open for hurtful body shots. When pushed on the back-foot, it is unlikely Kinsiona owns a wealth of counter-striking talent to cope with Dodd’s experience or Gibb’s liquid creativity.

Predicted Result: Dodd Decision

Whether it is Dodd or Gibbs in the opposite corner, Kinsiona’s tall upright stance is wide open for hurtful body shots. When pushed on the back-foot, it is unlikely Kinsiona owns a wealth of counter-striking talent to cope with Dodd’s experience or Gibb’s liquid creativity.

Result: Gibbs def. Appleyard /// Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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BOXXER Series 1: Final

Ben Fields (10-10-2) vs Sean Dodd (17-5-1, 3KO)

Super Lightweight (140)

Never, ever, ever did I expect my predicted finalists to be either of these men, but styles/match-ups are incredibly important in this format. Sean Dodd has experienced the adversity that Fields’ pressure brings, and as long as he hasn’t spent his gas tank earlier on the night, his back-foot boxing is more than capable of out-classing Fields. Fields’ best chances would be to suffocate Dodd in an ugly clinching warfare, but Dodd’s distance management will prove key to keeping his preferred striking range.

Predicted Result: Dodd Decision

Never did I expect my predicted finalists to be either of these men, but styles/match-ups are incredibly important in this format. Fields’ best chances would be to suffocate Dodd in an ugly clinching warfare, but Dodd’s distance management will prove key to keeping his preferred striking range.

Result: Gibbs def. Farrell /// Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

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