Card Clash: Dubois vs Rodriguez and Opetaia vs Thompson

Welcome to Card Clash, where I preview two boxing cards that are clashing with each other this weekend. I’ll run through the cards and event to see which one looks better of paper, and award the winner the grand prize of being on my TV this weekend. With high stakes on the line, let’s have a look at Matchroom vs Boxxer, DAZN vs Sky, and our Card Clash this weekend.

WHO WILL HAVE AN EVENT THIS WEEK?

This weekend, we have a Card Clash happening in London, England. Both Matchroom Boxing and Boxxer will host shows Saturday evening with roughly the same start and end times. For Matchroom, Jai Opetaia (22-0) defends his IBF Cruiserweight belt against unbeaten Brit Jordan Thompson (15-0) in the main event on DAZN. Boxxer’s show takes place on Sky Sports, with Caroline Dubois (7-0) attempting to capture world championship gold as she faces Magali Rodriguez (22-6-4) for the IBO Lightweight Championship.

WHO WILL HAVE THE BETTER MAIN EVENT THIS WEEK?

On paper, and from a British perspective, Caroline Dubois is probably the biggest name boxing across the weekend. Well there’s Canelo vs Charlo, but anyway. Dubois’ career has taken place under bright lights and cameras, making her debut on the undercard of Eubank Jr. vs Liam Williams. She has been made one of the faces of British female boxing for quite some time, and Sky have dedicated considerable time and attention to building her profile. Jordan Thompson’s career hasn’t been afforded the same luxuries, he began fighting at the Village Hotel in Ashton under Lyne. Thompson has been fighting on the TV cards first under Frank Warren, then Eddie Hearn, but he’s never been in a headline bout. He’s never even co-headlined. Opetaia will not be widely known barring his surprise Unanimous Decision victory of Maris Briedis in July 2022. Magali Rodriguez has never boxed on a card shown in the UK.

In terms of the match-ups, both are heavily stacked in favour of the A-sides. Opetaia was due to face Riakporhe as his mandatory challenger until he withdrew, and Thompson has stepped in despite being ranked at number 5 by the IBF. Thompson has defeated Luke Watkins and Vasil Ducar in his last two bouts, but he is making a big leap from European to World level. For Dubois, the result is seemingly academic. A quick check of her odds places her at 1/14 to win. So it is hard to see the bout being competitive in any way. Jai Opetaia is 1/6 to beat Jordan Thompson, so the bookmakers don’t see this as competitive either.

I favour Opetaia vs Thompson as my main event. The championship on the line is bigger, the bout on paper is more competitive, and the repercussions of the result will have a greater impact on British boxing. With Okolie, Chris Billiam-Smith, Riakporhe at the top of the cruiserweight division, and Isaac Chamberlain, Mikael Lawal and Cheavon Clarke beneath them, there’s plenty of good UK matchups if Jordan Thompson causes an upset.

WHO WILL HAVE BETTER TV UNDERCARD?

It depends on taste. In terms of prestige, Matchroom and DAZN have more. The undercard features Ellie Scotney vs Laura Griffa for the IBF World Super Bantamweight belt. Chev Clarke and Rhiannon Dixon also have more prestigious title bouts than the matchups on Sky. There’s one lone title defence on Boxxer’s undercard, which is a good matchup featuring Viddal Riley vs Nathan Quarless for the English Cruiserweight Championship.

DAZN and Matchroom also have superior women’s boxing on the show, with 4 of their 9 bouts involving the ladies. Boxxer currently only have the main event and the debut of Hennesy on their smaller bill.

But Boxxer’s male undercard is much stronger, with Callum Simpson and Viddal Riley both being ones to watch for the future. Riley vs Quarless is two unbeaten prospects going at it for the English title, and I’d expect that to be one of the better contests across both shows. Callum Simpson’s opposition isn’t great, which the initial opponent pulling out, but I’m keen to see him progress so he can face Heffron/Cheli/Parker or go after Jack Cullen’s British belt. Matchroom have Chev Clarke vs Ducar, and that will be the entire male portion of the TV undercard.

I think Sky and Boxxer will produce the more entertaining undercard, despite Matchroom Boxing’s having more championships attached to their show.

WHO WILL HAVE THE BETTER EARLY UNDERCARD?

DAZN will have a busier undercard. There’s 9 fights scheduled for the show, so I’d expect 5 on the main broadcast and 4 on Before the Bell. George Liddard’s last bout was a good scrap, probably a bit too dangerous for this stage of his career, so I’d keep an eye on him.

Boxxer haven’t fully announced their current card. There’s 6 bouts lined up, but debutant Francesca Hennesy does not have an opponent yet. Jeamie TKV is in an interesting bout against Emir Ahmatovic. Ahmatovic was dull and laboured when he fought Adeleye earlier in the year, but it is a good litmus test for TKV.

I’d expect Matchroom and DAZN to produce a better early undercard on Saturday. They’ll certainly be more depth to Matchroom’s and I’d expect a longer runtime too.

WHO WILL HAVE THE BETTER LOCATION AND ATMOSPHERE?

Tickets remain on sale for both events, but there’s no indication online from either event in terms of ticket sales. I’d expect Boxxer’s York Hall show to sell better in terms of occupancy. Matchroom Boxing will have a hard job filling the OVO Wembley Arena, and I’d expect parts to be tapered off and closed.

So I’d expect York Hall to be better location.

IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONLY ONE EVENT TO WATCH, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Matchroom’s. I would take a gamble and assume Dubois walks through her opponent, and that Simpson and TKV pick up routine wins. Riley vs Quarless should see the A-side emerge with the English title. For Matchroom’s show, I don’t entirely discount Jordan Thompson dethroning Opetaia. Opetaia has one major win on his record vs Bredis, and he hasn’t fought against other names in the division. Both Opetaia and Thompson have KO power, have fought mostly in domestic bouts their entire careers, and their careers aren’t dissimilar. So given the choice of watching 1/14 Dubois, or 1/6 Jai Opetaia, I’ll stick to DAZN this weekend and watch their show.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Previews for the 3 major cards taking place this weekend are included below.

Canelo vs Charlo

Dubois vs Rodriguez

Opetaia vs Thompson

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