On Saturday, June 29th, Matchroom Boxing presents a live boxing card from the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, featuring hometown hero Demetrius Andrade defending his WBO middleweight belt against Maciej Sulecki in the main event. A heavyweight battle between Joseph Parker and Alex Leapai will be the semi-main event of the night.
Also on the card is a WBA super-flyweight title fight as champion Khalid Yafai defends his belt against Norbelto Jimenez. In total, Matchroom Boxing has tentatively scheduled at least eight fights for this event. The prelims will begin at 5PM ET, but don’t expect the main card to start until closer to 7PM ET on DAZN.
Boxing betting sites have released odds for some of the fights on this card. Let’s take a look at the available odds, identify any potential betting value, and KO our picks.
Champion Khalid Yafai comes into this fight as a sizable betting favorite according to 5Dimes. That’s nothing new considering he’s been a large betting favorite in his previous four fights. The last fight that was close in betting odds was his bout against Luis Concepcion in December 2016. Yafai would cruise to a UD victory in that one. Jimenez is a large underdog in this fight, but something he’s been accustomed to in the past. Neither fighter offers any betting value. Jimenez isn’t worthy of a flier.
Yafai vs Norbelto Preview
Fans and bettors might look at Jimenez’s record and quickly write him off as a bum. However, I caution anyone who takes this approach. Norbelto’s eight losses came in his first 11 pro fights. It’s a testament to his willpower to keep fighting after that kind of start. He hasn’t lost in over eight years, which is a 30-fight unbeaten streak. During that span, he’s won 27 fights in addition to three Draws. Khalid turned pro in 2012 and has been undefeated since then. If you compare their careers since 2012, Jimenez has 26 wins which is one more than Yafai.
With that said, there is a fair amount of criticism over the level of competition that Jimenez has faced during his unbeaten streak. 15 of those opponents all had losing records when Norbelto fought them. In fact, he faced opponents that were a combined record of 4-79 during a two year stretch from late 2011 through mid-2013. Examples of some of Norbelto’s opponents’ records were 0-19, 0-14, 1-28, and 4-22-1. This will be his first fight in the United States. Almost his entire career has been spent in Santo Domingo except for his 2014 bout against Kohei Kono that took place in Japan. To Jimenez’s credit, most pundits believe he won that fight. It ended in a Split Draw. According to ESPN, Jimenez hasn’t forgotten that controversial outcome, as he boldly declares a victory this weekend for the Dominican Republic.
“It has been a long wait after fighting to a draw in Japan in my first world title opportunity. And now I just want to say that on June 29, the Dominican Republic will have a new world champion, and his name is Norbelto ‘Meneito’ Jimenez.”
For Yafai, this will be the fifth title defense of his WBA super flyweight belt. Jimenez was named the mandatory challenger by the WBA, which is why this fight was made. Otherwise, Yafai might have been booked in a bigger showdown. There’s talks of Khalid facing Juan Francisco Estrada in his next bout, which would be a unification fight as Estrada holds the WBC super flyweight title that he won in April.
Nevertheless, Yafai is not worried about unification fights right now. Yafai is focused on his mandatory challenger and wants to put on a show for the American audience, especially after his lackluster performance against Gonzales last November:
“After my last fight, I’ve got to go out there and win and look good doing so. It was a disappointing night for me in Monte Carlo. I didn’t perform how I’d normally like to perform. Everyone can see that I wasn’t myself in there that night, but like I said on the night, I don’t like to make excuses. I’m looking to show everyone that I’m one of the finest world champions out there and make my mark in America.”
Yafai fought in America 13 months ago when he pummeled David Carmona. He’s dominated his opposition since winning the title in December 2016 against Luis Concepcion. Ironically, Concepcion defeated Kohei Kono 18 months after Kono’s controversial fight against Jimenez. So, this is the belt that Norbelto fought for in late 2014.
With that said, Khalid recognizes that his opponent may have fought for a world title before, but that his recent level of competition has been poor ever since the Kohno fight:
“Since then, he hasn’t really boxed fighters of a high caliber. It’s a long time to box guys at that level and then step up and fight someone like me.”
Can Yafai Remain Undefeated?
If you look at his last few fights, Khalid is actually taking a step down in competition against Jimenez. Although Norbelto is bathing in a sea of doubters, he really is outmatched in this fight. Jimenez might be the bigger fighter, but Yafai is the better fighter.
It’s been nearly three years since Yafai last scored a TKO/KO. For Jimenez, it’s been 8 ½ years since he’s been knocked out. I’m not sure if Yafai is going to be able to score the KO/TKO in this fight, but he will outbox Norbelto for 12 rounds and win in dominant fashion. I would be surprised if Norbelto won more than two rounds in this contest. The bet is Yafai to win via UD.
Boxing Bet: Khalid Yafai (-1600)
Joseph Parker (25-2, 19 KOs) vs Alex Leapai (32-7-4, 26 KOs)
Joseph Parker (-2450)
Alex Leapai (+1150)
Heavyweight fighter Alex Leapai comes in as the biggest betting underdog of the main card. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering Leapai is 2-3-1 over his last six fights. He does have big fight experience, but online betting sites like 5Dimes don’t see Alex being a real threat to Parker. With that said, he’s not worthy of a flier.
For Parker, he’s been a betting favorite in almost every fight over the last three years. The only time he was an underdog was against Anthony Joshua 15 months ago. Obviously, with odds this high, there’s no value in betting on Joseph Parker.
Parker vs Leapai Preview
Alex Leapai was handpicked for this fight as his style suits Joseph Parker. Nevertheless, Leapai isn’t coming into this fight with a loser’s mentality. In fact, Boxing Scene reports that he believes he will pull off the second biggest upset of the year behind Andy Ruiz, who he compares himself to:
“I am the Samoan Andy Ruiz – the guy everyone writes off. This will be the second massive upset this year because Parker is getting sparked. Then, I’m going to take Andy’s Snickers off him!”
Leapai has fought six times over the last five years and has gone 2-3-1. During that span, he did step in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko. Unfortunately, he lost via TKO in the fifth round, which sparked a three-fight losing streak. Following those losses, Alex took on Thomas Peato who was 2-5 at the time of their fight less than two years ago. Then, he fought Roger Izonritei twice. The first fight ended due to a cut and the rematch ended with a first round KO victory for Leapai. Izonritei was 12-6 at the time of their fights. Leapai has fought internationally his entire career. This will be his first fight in the United States.
Joseph Parker is looking to get back into title contention once again. It’s funny that Leapai compares himself to Andy Ruiz because it was Joseph Parker who handed Ruiz the only loss of his career. That fight took place in December 2016, and Parker won via Majority Decision. He also won the vacant WBO world heavyweight title that night.
Parker would go on to successfully defend that title on two occasions before losing it to Anthony Joshua in March 2018. That was the first loss of his pro career. And we all know how Ruiz just defeated Joshua at the beginning of this month to win the WBO, IBF, and WBA belts.
Parker would follow up his fight with Joshua by losing to Dillian Whyte via UD in July 2018. It was his second pro loss, and it knocked Joseph down from the upper echelon of contenders. Whyte is the #1 contender for the WBC title and is publicly pressing for a fight against champion Deontay Wilder.
Joseph hasn’t shied away from those two losses. In fact, he is lobbying for rematches against both Joshua and Whyte:
“I would love to avenge the losses that I have had against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte. I’ll fight them tomorrow. But Dillian is trying to fight for the WBC title so respect to him for that, but if the opportunity came along I would love that fight again.”
As for Leapai, Parker realizes that the veteran is a fast starter and tries to finish off his fights in the first few rounds:
“Alex is very dangerous in the beginning of the fight, so for three to five rounds he will be very dangerous with big overhand rights and left hooks.”
Parker’s plan is to withstand the early storm, break down Leapai, then finish him off. Joseph believes a stoppage is best for his career aspirations of returning to title contention.
Will Leapai Be the Next Ruiz?
Calling himself “the Samoan Andy Ruiz” actually made me laugh out loud. Ruiz is 10 years younger than Leapai and fought a champion who actually defeated Parker, Alex’s opponent this weekend. I don’t see how Leapai wins this fight unless he can get lucky with one of those overhand rights or left hooks early in the fight.
I believe Parker is going to dispatch of Leapai in this fight. I don’t know if he will get the stoppage, but I do believe Joseph will score a UD victory. Afterward, if Whyte can’t get that fight against Wilder, then a rematch between the two would be a solid matchup. He could also end up in a rematch against Andy Ruiz who wants to avenge his only career loss. Either way, big things are in store for Parker if he can win this weekend, which most pundits and fans expect him to.
Boxing Bet: Joseph Parker (-2450)
Demetrius Andrade (27-0, 17 KOs) vs Maciej Sulecki (28-1, 11 KOs)
Demetrius Andrade (-600)
Maciej Sulecki (+450)
Maciej, the challenger, is a notable underdog according to 5Dimes, but not as large as other challengers on the main card. In fact, these aren’t bad odds considering Sulecki’s resume. In fact, he’s been the betting favorite in all of his fights prior to this weekend except for the bout against Daniel Jacobs 14 months ago.
For Andrade, he’s been a betting favorite in his fights over the last several years. Demetrius is a multi-time champion in two weight classes and these betting odds are indicative of his past success. Andrade doesn’t offer betting value, but I do believe Sulecki is worthy of a small flier.
Andrade vs Sulecki Preview
Maciej last fought in March and defeated Gabriel Rosado via UD. However, he had to pick himself up off the mat twice in the ninth round to hold on to his lead in points. Sulecki’s only pro loss was to Daniel Jacobs 14 months ago and that was via UD. He was knocked down in the 12th, which secured his defeat.
For Sulecki, this is his best shot at a world title because I don’t see him having any hope against GGG or Canelo. And both of those guys will not only be gunning for each other, but possibly for Andrade as well. Speaking of Jacobs and the middleweight division, Maciej told Bad Left Hook that Andrade is one of the weakest middleweights in the division:
“I am very happy I got this fight. Daniel Jacobs was much better than Andrade—Andrade’s one of the weakest middleweights out there in my eyes. I know for sure that I’m going to put on a great fight and show it off. I know he’s a great fighter but he hasn’t fought anybody. He’s fought Jack Culcay who is no one, and I will show the world who I am and what I can do inside that ring.”
Sulecki has proven to be a tough out for anyone and has been dominating the lower to middle portion of the division. But does that mean he’s ready to claim a world title? I don’t disagree with his sentiment about Jacobs being better than Andrade at one point, but I’m not sure if that’s the case right now, and I’m not ready to say that Demetrius is one of the weakest out there. He is ranked higher than Sulecki in the middleweight division, and he is a multi-time world champ in two weight classes. Both are something that Maciej hasn’t accomplished.
For Andrade, this fight could be a stepping stone to a bigger pay day and a potential unification bout. Canelo has already said that he wanted to clean out the middleweight division. He holds all of the other belts in the weight class and has spoken publicly about wanting to face Andrade to get that last belt. Demetrius publicly says that he will fight anyone, but he has yet to officially accept any of Canelo’s challenges. Andrade doesn’t even think Alvarez is a great fighter, just a popular one.
According to Boxing Scene, Demetrius believes that his homecoming this weekend will be the perfect stage to showcase his skills:
“Fighting at home is really exciting. In a way it’s more exciting for the fans in Providence as I’ve fought all over the world already. So, to give my hometown the chance to watch me display my skills, talent, work ethic is going to be great for them—they’re going to see greatness from one of their own. I’ve got two full passports from traveling the world and it’s a privilege to do that, to see the world and learn and gain experience, so to come home for such a big fight is great.”
On a side note, Andrade has been reportedly calling out GGG to fight him. Currently, Golovkin only wants to face Canelo in a third fight. He’s not concerned with anyone else. With that said, maybe a GGG vs Andrade fight would entice Canelo to take on the winner. It would solve all of the problems if GGG defeated Andrade, then went on to fight Canelo for all of the division’s titles.
Can Andrade Silence the Critics?
Andrade has the speed and athletic advantages in this fight. He also has the championship experience and a 5.5-inch reach advantage. I expect Andrade to keep the fight at a distance with Sulecki trying to get in close and make it an ugly brawl. Maciej is a decent boxer, but Andrade is better. Sulecki has power, but I wouldn’t say he has the advantage in this matchup. Lastly, it seems that Sulecki looked tired in a few of his recent fights, which gives me concerns over his endurance and stamina.
As mentioned, Sulecki was knocked down twice in the ninth round against Rosado a few months ago. He was knocked down in round 12 against Jacobs 14 months ago. Andrade is better than Rosado and it’s debatable over how he compares to Jacobs.
Although I don’t buy the Andrade hype, I still believe he will win this fight. The only question is whether or not he wins via stoppage or UD. With that said, Sulecki is arguably Andrade’s toughest middleweight opponent to date. So, I do think that Maciej is worthy of a small flier just because I do have some doubts about Andrade. But this is only for the extreme risk takers. Otherwise, go with the smart play and take Andrade to successfully defend his title.
This really is an uninspiring card. The top three fights should all be on the undercard of another main event. Andrade isn’t a household name and certainly not at the level of earning a top billing on a DAZN event. The only good thing about having Andrade signed to DAZN is that negotiations for a fight against GGG or Canelo should be easier since they’re both with DAZN as well.
If you have DAZN already, then this card might be worthy of a few hours of your time on Saturday night. If you don’t have the streaming platform, then I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to get it just for this fight. Additionally, there’s really no betting value for this card. Sulecki is the only one with any chance of pulling off the upset on the main card, but I wouldn’t bet on him. For fight sports fans, the UFC event on ESPN this Saturday night will be more entertaining and offer better betting options than this boxing event.
Matchroom Boxing from RI Full Card
The following lineup is based on details provided by ESPN and Matchroom Boxing. Card is subject to change.
(c)Demetrius Andrade vs Maciej Sulecki in a 12 round WBO middleweight title fight
Joseph Parker vs Alex Leapai in a 12 round heavyweight bout
(c)Khalid Yafai vs Norbelto Jimenez in a 12 round WBA junior bantamweight title fight
Alexis Espino vs TBA for 4 rounds at super middleweight
Raymond Ford vs Isidro Figueroa in a 4 round featherweight bout
Anthony Marsella Jr. vs Jose Aubel in a 6 rounds junior welterweights contest
Mark DeLuca vs Brandon Brewer in a 10 rounds junior middleweight fight
Shelly Vincent vs Simone Da Silva in an 8 round women’s junior lightweight bout
Anthony Concepcion vs TBA for 4 rounds at middleweight
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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