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Anthony joshua v wladimir klitschko april mega fight can be first of many for aj

I've just booked our summer holiday. Two weeks, sunshine, a few good books, the occasional dip in the pool to cool off, and some nice fish meals in the evening. Even though it is still six months away, I can't help but be a bit excited about it.

I imagine Anthony Joshua must be having much the same feelings about fighting Wladimir Klitschko. He's already been made [1.55] favourite in the early market to retain his IBF title and add the vacant WBA Super title to go with it.

It's booked, sorted. Wembley stadium, April 29th, a crowd of 80,000 to roar him on. The trouble is that much like my holiday it is still months away, and that time delay is arguably the biggest unknown about what will happen come fight night.

Klitschko looked great when he got into the ring at the Manchester Arena shortly after Joshua had put away Eric Molina. He stared the champion down while Eddie Hearn gleefully announced that contracts for the fight were signed. He'll be doing his bit again this week when they hold the official press conference to confirm the contest.

But by the time they come to get in the ring Klitschko will have gone past his 41st birthday. What's more, it will be his first fight for 17 months since the night that Tyson Fury took away all his titles.

Klitschko has never had that long a period of inactivity before. From when he first won a world title by outpointing Chris Byrd in 2000 he went through 32 fights in the following 15 years. The longest spell he ever had without a contest was 11 months between September 2010 and July 2011. Line them up and knock them down.

But since being humbled by Fury he's had a succession of false starts. The rematch got called off twice, then a niggling calf injury stopped his first attempt to fight Joshua.

So will a long lay-off and the chance to let his body recover from the constant training, sparring and fighting have helped him? Or will he arrive at Wembley ring-rusty and lacking sharpness?

Those are crucial things for Joshua and his team to assess, because this contest has to be the gateway for more mega fights for the British star. If he can fill Wembley once he can do it again, aiming to unify titles against the likes of WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

And then, of course, there is still the spectre of Tyson Fury who has told friends that, when he has his head right from the troubles that forced him to give up the titles he so spectacularly won against Klitschko, he wants to return to the ring and win them back there.

For Joshua this is a massive step forward. It is the fight that ends the sniping criticism that even though he wears a world heavyweight championship crown he's never really fought anybody.

The hype will start this week. The tickets will sell out in a heartbeat. And then much like for my holiday the waiting will begin.

Boxing betting back james degale to outpoint the limited badou jack

James 'Chunky' DeGale makes the third defence of his IBF super-middleweight world title on Saturday evening, and has the added-incentive of adding opponent Badou Jack's WBC strap to his clutch of honours.

It'll be another road-trip for globe-trotting champ DeGale, who looks happy enough to box away from home. Maybe it's because the money is better, perhaps his handlers know he couldn't sell out a venue in the UK without a seriously impressive undercard, or it could be true that he just likes to rack up the air miles. Whatever the reason, this will be Chunky's third trip to America in four fights, with the spare going in Canada.

The 30-year-old Londoner has certainly stuck a pin in the belief that fighters struggle to get a points decision in their opponent's backyard, as the Olympic gold medallist picked up the vacant IBF strap courtesy of a points decision over Andre Dirrell, defended it vs Lucian Bute in Canada in the judges' opinion and did the same in Washington when last out against Regelio Medina in April 2016.

Another 12-round win is favourite in the method of victory market, with [1.57] available on the exchange. The KO/TKO shouldn't gain much favour with punters, even at a heavyweight 4/1. That's one for lovers of a bigger-price, but it's that way for good reason - Chunky hasn't stopped anyone for over two years.

James DeGale to win, regardless of the method in which he achieves it, has been deemed to be the most-likely outcome of this fight, with sportsbook punters getting 4/11.

Opponent Badou Jack will duck between the ropes as WBC ruler, having won the honour from Anthony Dirrell courtesy of majority decision back in 2015. The Swedish-born 33-year-old has gone on to make two defences, beating George Groves on a split-decision and holding onto the bling when getting a majority draw with Lucian Bute last time.

That's far from impressive form and doesn't appear to hold any weight with punters either. Each of his last three have been decided by the tightest of margins, and casual fans may want to throw a couple of pound on the draw at 25/1, best price with Betfair, just to see what happens. I certainly wouldn't talk you out of it.

That draw vs Bute is a real red flag for me however, and although it's not the way it works in this game, DeGale beat Bute on his own patch at a canter and that suggests he should do the same on Saturday.

Jack, nicknamed The Ripper, did dump Groves on the seat of his pants in the first-round when the pair met in the summer of 2015. That knockdown eventually cost the Englishman that fight, or we could very well be talking about an all-British unification match here. That's the margin for error in this game - zero. I know that well enough.

Jack will be hoping to take some of that power into this one, and backers who make him capable of stopping DeGale can have 15/2 when shopping at Betfair. With a 52% knockout average from 23 starts, it's not the worst of alternative predictions.

Jack has found a way to win, and trades at 9/4 to do the same again, but little of this man impresses me and I would much rather have my money on DeGale adding to his titles, rather than losing one. Taking the away win on points seems to be the most sensible option here, and the form is there to support it.

Recommended Bet

Back James DeGale to win on points at [1.7]

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