Olympics Betting: Boxing Preview


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The Olympic Games is a great opportunity to see boxing's future. Many of boxing's all-time greats struck gold at the Olympics: Muhammad Ali, Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, Audley Harrison - true legends all. Britons love their boxing and nowhere more so than in the capital, so expect a partisan atmosphere in the ExCeL Exhibition Centre backing a very useful Team GB.

Super heavyweight

The division generating the most interest is the super heavyweight and that's down to 22-year-old Londoner Anthony Joshua. Having powered his way into last year's World Amateur Boxing Final, beating reigning world and Olympic champion Roberto Cammerelle along the way, the Finchley fighter missed out on a gold medal by one point to Azerbaijan's Magomedrasul Majidov.

Joshua has an excellent jab, good footwork and real power when he decides to open up. Although he insists even a gold medal in London will not force him into any quick decisions on turning pro, it's clear that the already existing overtures from promoters will turn into a crescendo after a successful Olympics and be very hard to ignore. Joshua didn't seem fazed by Majidov's punishing body attack in their last bout and on his home turf he's understandably favourite for the gold.

Another bet sticks out for me, though: Cammarelle to finish in the top four at 1.55. The reigning champion maybe in decline but still has the talent, experience and tournament nous to trouble anyone and I don't see anyone outside the top three beating him.

Middleweight

In the middleweight division, the front-runners for the medals are Ukraine's reigning world champion Ievgen Khytrov and Japan's Ryota Murata. Khytrov is 2.50 favourite but I think Murata is good value at 4.00. Their World Championship bout was a close one (24:22) and a more focused second round would have given Murata the victory.

It's one of those matchups that has that feeling of a passing of the torch. Murata grows with confidence with each fight and his first round KO of two-time world champion Abbos Atoev showed that not only does he have the power to end the contest early, he also fears no reputations. This could well be his tournament.

Light welterweight

The favourite in this division is Brazilian world champion Everton Lopes. Brazil has no great record in Olympic boxing but Lopes has an excellent chance of boosting their gold medal tally here. While he is an understandable favourite, I have a fancy for world championship silver medallist Denys Berinchyk. He only lost out narrowly to Lopes in the World Championship final, beat the tournament favourite Rosniel Iglesias of Cuba and clocked up a huge 31 points against England's Thomas Stalker. Once he gets into his groove, Berinchyk is unstoppable. The 5.00 on offer for the Ukrainian is generous.

Bantamweight

Down among the smaller divisions it's no less competitive. At bantamweight, England's 2008 world champion Luke Campbell is up against Lazaro Alvarez, one of the stars of an unusually threadbare Cuban boxing contingent. The slick southpaw from Hull has had to struggle with injury problems in the past, taking a year out the sport in 2009 to recover from major tendon surgery. That looks to be behind him now and while he lost a decision to Alvarez in the World Championship final, he seemed to have figured out the Cuban's awkward style by the final round – a round that was scored even. It was too late to make a difference in that fight but in his home country and with proven gold-medal pedigree backing Campbell at 7.50 will definitely see you get a run for your money. If you're looking for a patriotic value bet, this is the one.