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5 vs 5 Boxing Warfare: Queensbury vs Matchroom Predictions

Former world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Chinese giant Zhilei Zhang headline a boxing card unlike any other, which will see Queensbury Promotions and Matchroom Boxing go head-to-head in a five-on-five series in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.


Former world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Chinese giant Zhilei Zhang headline a boxing card unlike any other, which will see Queensbury Promotions and Matchroom Boxing go head-to-head in a five-on-five series in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing’s long-standing rivalry will be settled in the ring at the Kingdom Arena, with the two promoters picking five of their top fighters for the exciting one-night tournament.

Team Queensbury comprises Zhang, Daniel Dubois, Hamzah Sheeraz, Nick Ball and Willy Hutchinson, while Matchroom will be represented by Wilder, Filip Hrgovic, Austin Williams, Raymond Ford and Craig Richards.

With bragging rights at stake, one point will be awarded for a decision win and two points for a knockout or technical knockout, with captains earning double points. Warren has selected Sheeraz as his skipper, with Wilder set to lead Matchroom.

It’s a fresh concept that adds a team dynamic to an individual sport and promises to be an epic night of fights with world titles and world championship opportunities at stake.

CARD (From 8 PM SA time)

Deontay Wilder (Matchroom – 2.25) v Zhilei Zhang (Queensbury – 1.66) (Heavyweight)

The main event is a crucial clash in the heavyweight division that Wilder has described as his “last chance.”

The former WBC titleholder was the boogeyman of the division in his prime. The most prolific knockout artist in heavyweight history, his five-year reign and undefeated streak came to an end at the hands of Tyson Fury in February 2020. It was their second fight after their maiden meeting ended in a draw, with Fury winning their classic third encounter to cap the trilogy.

Wilder got back in the win column with a devastating knockout of Robert Helenius but in a case of taking one step forward and two steps back, he lost to Joseph Parker in December. It was a doubly disappointing night for the American, who was gun-shy and picked apart for 10 straight rounds, as it was the worst performance of his career and cost him a mega-money fight against Anthony Joshua.

At 38 and outside of the title picture for the first time in years with his record now at 43-3-1 with 42 knockouts, Wilder declared this a make-or-break bout at the launch press conference in London, saying, “We’ll see if I’ve got it or not. This fight I’m holding it as my last dance, my last chance. I lost my love and passion for this business. I lost my hunger for so many different reasons. I’m not playing around this time. I’ve got nothing to lose.”

Zhang’s in need of a win as well after losing the WBO interim heavyweight title to Parker in March. Although he looked much better than Wilder did – dropping Parker twice – it was his second loss in his last four fights, taking his record to 26-2-1 with 21 knockouts.

Zhang, a silver medallist at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, is a substantially superior pure boxer than Wilder. One of the heaviest men in boxing’s glamour division, the Chinese colossus weighed in at 291 pounds for the Parker fight and looks set to come in even heavier for this fight.

In addition to his size, Zhang has a granite chin and has never been knocked out, but if anyone can stop him it’s Matchroom’s captain “The Bronze Bomber,” who’s made a career out of crushing technicians with his superhuman power.

At 41, Zhang will be a stationary target, yet one that’s tricky and dangerous as a southpaw with good hand speed. The latter two traits should see “Big Bang” stand tall in a tense tilt that comes to an abrupt end.

Prediction: Zhang by knockout.

Best Bet: Zhang by KO/KO/DQ at 2.00.

Alternative Bet: Zhang at 1.66.

Daniel Dubois (Queensbury – 2.65) v Filip Hrgovic (Matchroom – 1.47) (Heavyweight)

England’s Dubois dukes it out with Croatia’s Hrgovic in an IBF heavyweight title eliminator.

Hrgovic holds a perfect record of 17-0 with 14 knockouts and is currently in pole position to fight for the IBF belt. Despite being just 31, he says he’ll retire if he can’t beat Dubois, so it’s a high-pressure showdown for “El Animal.”

His best win came over Zhang in 2022 and while he’s stayed undefeated, his performances have dipped and Dubois will fancy his chances as he’s coming off a knockout win over Jarrell Miller.

Dubois, who’s 20-2 with 19 knockouts, is the heavier hitter (he’s not known as “Dynamite” for nothing) but has defensive frailties. Both of his losses, to Joy Joyce and Oleksandr Usyk, were by knockout and he was rocked three times by Kevin Lerena before rallying to stop the South African in the third round in 2022.

Given that, and the fact that Hrgovic is putting his career on the line, I see the Croatian returning to his best to keep his flawless record intact.

Prediction: Hrgovic by knockout.

Best Bet: Hrgovic by KO/TKO/DQ at 1.86.

Alternative Bet: Hrgovic to win in 1-6 rounds at 3.75.  

Raymond Ford (Matchroom – 1.62) v Nick Ball (Queensbury – 2.30) (WBA Featherweight Championship

Someone’s 0 has got to in this battle of unbeaten featherweights for the WBA championship.

Both men brought the drama and levelled up last time out, Ford scoring a late stoppage to dethrone Otabek Kholmatov and Ball proving he belongs at the highest level by dropping WBC champion Rey Vargas twice only to be robbed of a title triumph by some shady judging that saw the bout end in a controversial split draw.

Ford, who’s 15-0-1 with eight knockouts, has fluid footwork and is adept at distance management. At 25, the southpaw is wise beyond his years from a tactical standpoint, although, he’ll need to get off to a faster start than he did against Kholmatov.

Compact and aggressive, Ball is a gamer and the personification of the phrase dynamite comes in small packages. His perfect record reads 19-0-1 with 11 knockouts. At 5’2″, he’s five inches shorter than his American adversary and has a four-inch reach disadvantage, however, he’s used to being the smaller man, so don’t put too much weight into the size discrepancy when you see the pair face off.

As a newly minted champion, I expect Ford to have extra confidence, which translates into him being more commanding in terms of controlling the geography of the ring as well as the pace of the fight. It’ll be a good, competitive contest, but Ford should pip it on points.

Prediction: Ford by decision.

Best Bet: Ford by decision at 2.25.

Alternative Bet: Ford at 1.62.

Hamzah Sheeraz (Queensbury – 1.43) v Austin Williams (Matchroom – 2.80) (Middleweight

In another clash of pugilists with perfect records, Queensbury’s captain Sheeraz squares off against fellow burgeoning prospect Williams.

An absolute wrecking ball, Sheeraz has scored 13 consecutive knockouts, including making quick work of former world title challenger Liam Williams in February, to move to 19-0 (15 KOs). Not just a knockout artist, the 24-year-old works behind a long, piston-like jab. A star in the UK, this is his opportunity to break through on the global stage.

Williams (16-0, 11 KOs) is a slippery southpaw with a ton of amateur experience. The former Team USA member has stopped three of his last five opponents, including knocking out Armel Mbumba Yassa in February. As the smaller man, “Ammo” will have to find a way inside, which is always risky.

Sheeraz is on such a roll and with his long levers and ability to set traps, he should blast his way to victory.

Prediction: Sheeraz by knockout.

Best Bet: Sheeraz by KO/TKO/DQ at 2.20.

Alternative Bet: Under 10.5 rounds at 1.86

Willy Hutchinson (Queensbury – 2.25) v Craig Richards (Matchroom – 1.66) (Light Heavyweight)

A light heavyweight showdown will see a rising star out of Scotland in Hutchinson take on an English veteran in Richards.

After 21 months on the sidelines due to a hand injury, Richards (18-3-1, 11 KOs) returned with a bang in February, stopping Boris Crighton to show he’s still willing and able to make noise at the age of 34. “Spider” is sharp and savvy and has fought on big stages before, including dropping a competitive decision to WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.

While Richards was out injured, Hutchinson (17-1, 13 KOs) has racked up four straight stoppage wins since moving up to 175 pounds from super middleweight. Nine years Richards’ junior, “The Hurricane” will have a speed advantage and will do well to string combinations together.

Ultimately, though, a reinvigorated Richards’ experience should be the difference maker and should see him get Matchroom off to a winning start.

Prediction: Richards by decision.

Best Bet: Richards at 1.66.

Alternative Bet: Richards by decision at 3.80.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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