Prizefighter Cruiserweight Tournament
First seen as something of a novelty when it arrived two years ago, the Prizefighter series has now become a regular fixture on the British boxing scene, and is also drawing one or two notable names into the fray with the unexpected springboard effect it can have on a boxer's career.
Martin Rogan was an unknown bit-part fighter who'd been in only seven contests during his three and a half years as a professional before winning the inaugural tournament and going straight into a Commonwealth title fight against Audley Harrison. Harrison himself won the European title immediately after winning the latest heavyweight instalment, and now a former heavyweight world champion will attempt to become the latest to lift the trophy.
German based, Nigerian born, British national Herbie Hide is one of the shortest priced favourites we've seen in Prizefighter, but given his record, 4/5 could be pretty good value.
It may seem like a lifetime ago, but Hide (38 years old with an impressive 48-4 record, 43 stoppages), actually boxed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas defending his WBO heavyweight title against Riddick Bowe back in 1995. One of his other defeats was to Vitali Klitschko, so you can understand why the likes of Zahid Kahut (22/1) and John Anthony (20/1) aren't going to worry him too much.
Being something of a Jekyll and Hyde boxer, Hide is prone to eccentricity at times which can lend itself to the occasional upset - Joseph Chingangu was supposed to be a fairly easy night's work for Hide, but he was stopped by him in the second round. However, he's on a run of thirteen consecutive wins stretching back more than six years, has fought at the highest level and packs a big punch. His chin isn't the best by any stretch, but he's won 48 fights for a reason and looks a good bet to win here.
For anyone who fancies opposing Hide, another former heavyweight Mark Krence (11/2) has fought at a decent level against the likes of Ruslan Chagaev, Audley Harrison, Matt Skelton and Scott Gammer. He did however lose to all these men, with his best win probably being against John McDermott for the English heavyweight belt back in 2004.
Upsets happen in Prizefighter however, and given the short format, taking him on might make sense with a small bet on his first round opponent Zahid Kahut, an 11/4 to shot to get past Krence. He won't beat Hide, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see the Batley man pull off a small shock.
Finally, the most evenly matched first rounder sees Jon-Lewis Dickinson (6/1 for the outright) take on Leon Williams (9/1), and again, a small wager on the outsider to progress may be the bet. Williams is 11/8 to get past Dickinson (8/15 to win the fight), and on paper they're very similar. Dickinson has won his five fights, all on points, whilst Williams is 4-1 after a loss to professional journeyman Hastings Rasani, although he has scored a couple of stoppages.
Either way, looking past Hide to win on the night seems a difficult task, and if he's mentally in the zone this Friday, he should blast his way to victory without too much trouble.