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Deontay Wilder vs Zhilei Zhang: Tips and predictions for Matchroom vs Queensberry Saudi Arabia clash

Matchroom and Queensberry will go head-to-head in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night with Dmitry Bivol, Hamzah Sheeraz and Daniel Dubois among those setting the stage for Deontay Wilder and Zhilei Zhang.

There are numerous reasons why boxing in Saudi Arabia belongs in the bin, but there’s little doubt that Zhilei Zhang vs Deontay Wilder is an intriguing headline on an eye-catching card.

The showpiece event at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh is billed as Matchroom vs Queensbury, five vs five, Eddie Hearn vs Frank Warren.

Suppose you can suffer those two being thrust in your face at every opportunity. In that case, you can enjoy Hamzah Sheeraz’s stinging jab, and the undefeated enigma Dmitry Bivol.

Later on the evening, we'll be treated to a pair of heavyweight clashes. First, Daniel Dubois takes on Filip Hrgovic, before Deontay Wilder squares off against Zhilei Zhang.

Planet Sport has picked out the best bets for the evening's action.


Suggested bets

Dmitry Bivol to win by unanimous decision

Hamzah Sheeraz to win by KO, TKO or DQ

Filip Hrgovic to win by KO, TKO or DQ

Deontay Wilder to win by KO, TKO or DQ


Dmitry Bivol vs Malik Zinad

You’d be forgiven for thinking there’s any jeopardy in this fight. On paper, Bivol and Zinad are both undefeated with a record of 22-0.

In reality, the Russian will easily impose his style, dominate the fight and likely win by a comfortable margin on all the judge's cards - if it makes it that far.

If there was any doubt, his performance against Canelo Alvazres confirmed his class. Sure, Bivol had the power as the natural 175lb fighter, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of the performance.

He utilised his size and strength to perfection, shutting down Alvarez’s advances with a stinging jab and countering with eye-catching combinations.

His Libyan opponent does pack a powerful punch and it seems to us that Bivol doesn’t need any jeopardy with Artur Beterbiev waiting in the wings.

We’re predicting that Bivol will make the most of the 12 rounds to keep ticking over and although a KO is a possibility, we’ll back a win on points.


Hamzah Sheeraz vs Austin Williams

Hamzah Sheeraz is a superstar in the making. The British prospect has won 13 on the spin by way of KO or TKO, including a first-round stoppage of Liam Williams last time out.

Sheeraz immediately found his range and rocked Williams within seconds in his most impressive showing, but we still need to see some more.

Like Sheeraz, Austin Williams looks like a genuine title contender, so it’s fair to say this is the toughest test either man has faced.

The American oozes confidence and class in equal measure, at least relative to the calibre of opponent we’ve seen him face so far. The highlight was a unanimous decision against British number four Kieron Conway.

Owing to his boxing intelligence, he may be better equipped to overcome Sheeraz's height and reach advantage over previous opponents, and he’ll make a point of avoiding his explosive jab.

However, wanting and doing are two different things. Sheeraz is ready for a crack at a title now and has shown more quality and maturity than Williams, who often coasts in fights.



Daniel Dubois vs Filip Hrgovic

Daniel Dubois deserves tons of credit for his approach in recent years. He’s taken some huge risks in fighting Joe Joyce, Oleksandr Usyk and now Filip Hrgovic.

Dynamite lost the first two fights but you could argue he had Usyk hurt with a genuine body shot, before the wiley Ukrainian, not for the first time in his career, cried low blow.

One factor that could be negating the risk is a lack of activity. Hrgovic will don the gloves for the fourth time since fighting Zhang almost two years ago, and he’s not fought anyone of note since.

That said, what we have seen from the Croatian suggests his relentless, robotic approach and experience could grind Dubois down the longer the fight goes on.

While it’s unfair to label Dubois a quitter, because more serious damage was likely seconds away against Joyce and Usyk, power punches took their toll on him.

We’ve seen Hrgovic walk through Zhang’s best shots, and that must feel like a bomb going off in your face, so we have to side with the favourite in a fight where a KO is a possibility.



Deontay Wilder vs Zhilei Zhang

We’re willing to eat humble pie if this prediction turns out to be wrong but making Big Bang Zhang the odds-on favourite to beat Deontay Wilder isn’t fooling us.

The American is the biggest one-trick pony you’ll find across any sport, but that hasn’t stopped him from flooring nearly everyone he’s faced.

From a technical point of view, he looks like a broken windmill running around the ring in a pair of clogs, but that’s been enough against less mobile opponents.

Wilder’s defeats to Fury were a setback and so he went through the motions in his most recent defeat, a lacklustre loss to Joseph Parker, but he can right those wrongs.

A positive step toward reconciliation is recognising just how lifeless he was in the fight and he’s vowed to put that right. The Bronze Bomber has done some soul-searching and still fancies it.

If Fury was tailor-made to duck and dive Wilder’s bombs, then Zhang is tailor-made to be on the receiving end. The 41-year-old mountain of a man is a less-than-mobile target.


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