Beterbiev To Stop Bivol, Wilder To KO Zhang: Predicting The 5-vs-5 Event In Saudi Arabia

April 17, 2024
1 month
Eddie Hearn, Frank Warren and the fighters at the 5-vs-5 press conference

At a showbiz-style press conference in London on Monday, Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren revealed their fighters for the 5-vs-5 event to take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 1.

Flanked by their fighters hidden under masks, Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn and Queensberry Promotions chief Warren announced the match-ups for the unique format card.

First up was one of two heavyweight fights, with Queenberry’s Daniel Dubois set to face Matchroom’s Filip Hrgovic. That was followed by the featherweight clash between Nick Ball (Queensberry) and WBA world champion Raymond Ford (Matchroom).

Then came the middleweights as Hamzah Sheeraz (Queensberry) was pitted against Austin Williams (Matchroom), before the light-heavyweight clash between Willy Hutchinson (Queensberry) and Craig Richards (Matchroom).

And finally, the wildcard heavyweight pick, which will see former WBO interim champion Zhilei Zhang (Queensberry) take on former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder (Matchroom).

The scoring system was also revealed and will see fighters awarded two points for stoppage victories and one point for decision wins, while the captains (Sheeraz for Queensberry and Wilder for Matchroom) will be awarded double points.

However, the highlight will be the undisputed light-heavyweight world title bout between WBC, WBO, and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev and WBA champion Dimitry Bivol, which will headline the event but is not part of the 5-vs-5.

With the fights now officially revealed, here are the predictions for how it could all unfold.

Beterbiev v Bivol

The fight the boxing world has been wanting to see for several years, the two most dominant light-heavyweights on the planet will finally clash to determine who’s king.

Both Beterbiev (20-0-0 20 KO) and Bivol (22-0-0 11 KO) enter the ring with unbeaten records and have largely outclassed all their previous opponents. This will be a huge clash of styles as the powerful and ferocious Beterbiev takes on the slick and skillful Bivol.

Bivol can absolutely win this fight but he needs to be perfect for 12 rounds and limit the damage Beterbiev can inflict. One tiny lapse and it could all be over, such is the freakish power of the unified champion. For that reason, the prediction is a late Beterbiev win.

Prediction: Beterbiev to win by KO of TKO (rounds 10-12)

Hrgovic v Dubois

This fight could end up being for a world title if the IBF decides to vacate its belt following current champion Oleksandr Usyk’s undisputed bout with Tyson Fury next month. Whether a belt is on the line or not, this is an intriguing match-up.

Hrgovic (17-0-0 14 KO) is yet to taste defeat and has cemented himself as a top contender. That said, the Croatian hasn’t really faced many credible opponents, aside from his split decision win over Zhang. Dubois (20-2-0 19 KO), meanwhile, has been beaten twice but faced higher-caliber opponents.

Dubois is coming off an impressive 12th-round KO win over Jarrell Miller and his superior power could give him the edge in this one. Should be a close fight.

Prediction: Dubois to win by KO or TKO (Rounds 8-10)

Wilder v Zhang

Wilder (43-3-1 42 KO) called this his final chance at redemption following his shockingly bad performance last time out against Joseph Parker, who schooled the former world champion over 12 rounds. Zhang (26-2-1 21 KO) is also coming off a loss to Parker, which saw him lose his WBO interim strap.

This should be the perfect fight for Wilder against the much slower and heavier Zhang, who will provide a massive target for the American to fire off his massive right hand. However, Wilder was curiously gun-shy against Parker and if Zhang can spoil the fight, the Chinese fighter can win.

Prediction: Wilder to win by KO (Rounds 4-6)

Sheeraz v Williams

Sheeraz (19-0-0 15 KO) is one of the brightest talents from the UK and he enters the fight after a destructive first-round stoppage of former world title challenger Liam Williams. Tall, rangy, and powerful, the middleweight has drawn comparisons with the great Tommy Hearns.

Williams (16-0-0 11 KO) will also enter the ring with a burgeoning reputation and with fine amateur pedigree, so this could be another clash of styles between a banger in Sheeraz and a high-volume puncher in ‘Ammo’ Williams. A tough one to call but Sheeraz’s advantage in height and reach could prove the difference.

Prediction: Sheeraz to win on points

Ford v Ball

This has the potential to be one of the fights of the night. Ford (15-0-1 8 KO) enters the bout as a newly-crowned world champion, having secured the WBA belt in dramatic style by stopping Otabek Kholmatov in the final seconds of their bout while trailing on the scorecards.

Ball (19-0-1 11 KO) had hoped to join Ford at the top table but his fight with WBC champion Rey Vargas ended in a controversial split-decision draw, despite most believing Ball had won the fight.

Two fighters with great engines and speed who throw at high volume, this will surely go to the judges’ scorecards. Based on their last two performances, Ball has a great chance to finally become world champion.

Prediction: Ball to win on points

Richards v Hutchinson

The least high-profile of the fights but still one that should thrill the crowd. Richards (18-3-1 11 KO) might have lost two of his three most recent fights, but those defeats came against world champion Bivol and No 1-ranked challenger Joshua Buatsi.

Hutchinson (17-1-0 13 KO), on the other hand, is on a run of four straight wins after his surprise fifth-round stoppage defeat to Lennox Clarke. Another close fight to call but Richards’ greater experience against top-level fighters should see him come through.

Prediction: Richards to win on points