Matchroom's Fight Camp event returns this weekend with the first of three fight nights to take place on the grounds of Matchroom HQ over three consecutive weekends.
The brainchild of Eddie Hearn, Fight Camp proved to be a huge success last summer, with Alexander Povetkin's stunning KO of Dillian Whyte delivering a highlight reel finish to an event that was staged in the wake of boxing´s shutdown following the start of the COVID pandemic.
Saturday night's opening show has been dealth a blow with Conor Benn forced off the card due to a positive Covid test result.He was due to test himself against the durable Adrian Granados.
"Conor Benn is in good spirits. He feels well," said Hearn.
"Of course, he'll obey the isolation rules and reset and reschedule his fight. We'll make further announcements on that very soon."
Despite the Benn blow, though, there is still plenty to look forward to on the card.
Chris Billam-Smith vs Tommy McCarthy - 12 rounds - British, Commonwealth and European cruiserweight titles
In what could prove to be the fight of the night, Tommy McCarthy takes on Chris Billam-Smith in a domestic dust down with the British, Commonwealth and European cruiserweight titles on the line.
Entering the bout as an odds on-favourite, Billiam-Smith (12-1) earned a hard-fought points victory against Vasil Ducar last time out in retaining his Commonwealth title and following the victory, took to social media to declare his interest in about with the European and British champion McCarthy (19-2).
Now, having been granted his wish, a hugely exciting contest is anticipated, with Billam-Smith making his second appearance at Fight Camp after beating Nathan Thorley inside two rounds last summer.
Northern Irishman McCarthy, a 9/4 betting underdog, comes into the fight on the back of three successive wins, showing plenty of grit and determination in claiming the WBC International cruiserweight title with a split decision victory over Fabio Turchi in Italy back in October 2019.
Since then, the London born fighter has added the European Cruiserweight title to his list of honours, having earned another decision victory over Bilal Laggoune. McCarthy would defend his title with a fine sixth-round stoppage of Romanian Alexandru Jur at the AO Arena in Manchester earlier this year.
Ultimately, Billiam-Smith should justify his favourite status, and we expect this one to go along with the Epsom native, known as The Gentleman, potentially earning a late stoppage against his game opponent.
Lee Cullen vs Avni Yildirim - 10 rounds - Super middleweight division
Having shared a ring with Canelo Alvarez earlier this year, Avni Yildirim returns to action as he takes on Bolton favourite Lee Cullen in a 10-round super middleweight contest.
Yildirim received plenty of criticism following his embarrassingly one-sided stoppage defeat at the hands of the pound for pound king earlier this year and will be hoping for a hugely improved performance against the dangerous Cullen.
However, Cullen, boasting a 19-2-1 record, comes into this fight as a solid betting favourite at 8/15 odds on with Planet Sport Bet to claim the scalp of the three times beaten Turk (21-3), who is priced up at 11/8 to get his career back on track with the W.
Now under the tutelage of renowned Cuban trainer Pedro Diaz, Yildirim will need to find his fists again after a remarkably punch thirsty performance against Canelo in which the Turk decided for some reason to do his best imitation of a punching bag.
Of course, Cullen is certainly not anywhere close to the level of Alvarez (who is, to be fair?) but is still fancied to deliver a third successive loss for Yildirim, who had suffered a TD defeat at the hands of Anthony Dirrell prior to the dominant beat-down from Canelo.
Cullen, who boasts the quite wonderful fighting alias of 'Little Lever's Meat Cleaver,' comes into this contest on the back of a decision win over the previously unbeaten John Docherty, and he remains unbeaten in his last three bouts following a TKO loss at the hands of the talented Felix Cash in 2019.
A tough bout to call. Cullen lacks the experience of his opponent but is still expected to emerge victorious. While we don't lean quite as heavily to the chances of the Bolton native, Cullen has the tools to earn a well-deserved points victory against an opponent seemingly on a downward career trajectory.
Also on the card…
Britains Leigh Wood faces a tough challenge when he takes on China's Xu Can for the WBA (Regular) featherweight title. Meanwhile, Campbell Hatton continues to follow in the footsteps of his father Ricky as he steps it up against Polish fighter Jakub Laskowski.