As the Summer Olympics in Beijing has officially begun, with all the glory and drama that comes along with uniting most of the world for competitive sports, it’s no big surprise that there is controversy in boxing. The fact that it’s begun before any punches have been thrown, however, might be a little odd. Frankie Gavin, whom some have said was the strongest element of Team Great Britain as it came to boxing, has been sent home for not being able to meet the lightweight restrictions. Gavin, as reigning World and Commonwealth champion and two-time ABA winner, was unable to get his weight down to within limits for the Olympics Games by the deadline and so has been shipped back to his hometown of Birmingham to watch it develop on television, rather than participating. Though losing the contribution the 22-year old brings is certainly a loss to Team Great Britain, it’s hasn’t eradicated all hope for us to bring home a medal in the sport. There’s a strong possibility that the remaining seven fighters will be able to bring one home for us, especially for two participants in particular.
Bradley Saunders is one of the most underestimated fighters that went to Beijing and it could offer up a great opportunity for punters who are willing to take a look at his stats. First off, the man is a solid switch-hitter; his skills brought him in a bronze medal at the World Championship in Chicago, IL and perhaps more importantly, he was able to ring in first place, getting a taste for gold at the Presidents’ Cup in Taiwan recently. That tournament placed him up against Olympic Champion Manus Boonjumnong, who is currently as short as 6/4 odds to win a gold medal in the light-welter division with Ladbrokes. That win alone places him as a qualifier in the Olympic Boxing. With his odds currently at 25/1, he could be a contender, especially if you remember his bout with Amir Khan while he was still a teenager. He hasn’t had too much trouble with his draw, and it wouldn’t be unexpected for him to make it to the quarter-finals without a hitch, where possibly he’ll be able to find a challenge in Bulgarian Boris Georgiev. From that point on, we’ve not predictions, but Saunders will find a similar opportunity that Khan found in Athens four years ago, if he can keep consistent with the speed, power and poise he’s demonstrated in the past.
If Saunders falls out for whatever reason, Team Great Britain also has an asset in David Price, for the division of super-heavyweight. Entering into the events, high expectations have been placed on the Scouse. Price will have an easier time than Saunders to earn his medal, as the layers might not be aware of, but super-heavyweights have fewer demands on them to earn their places; only a few wins will guarantee them placement. On the other hand, Price has a rough pick for his first draw: Islam Timurziev. Price, from Liverpool, will be meeting up with European Champion and Number One in the World Timurziev, and hopefully he can live up to coach Terry Edwards’ words: that he rates a better boxer than Audley Harrison did when he won the gold medal in 2000. Dpending on how you look at it, if he can get past Timurziev, then the rest of the fighters should pale in comparison, at least to the final level Casino Bonuses. Right now Price’s price is sitting at 14/1 to win, and at the very least he’s got to be worth an each-way bet, where the backers will win so long as he makes it past the semi-finals.
Otherwise, members to mention would include James Degale and Billy Joe Saunders, but the matches that they’ve drawn should caution before punters put their money down on the middleweight and welterweight stars. The only other worth mentioning to watch out for is Bakhtiyar Artayev, Horse Racing from Kazakhstan. He was able to win the gold medal in his division four years ago in Athens, as well as the Val Baker Trophy in Greece for Outstanding Boxer. He is not yet a professional boxer, and though he didn’t make his name prominent in Chicago for the Worlds (he was defeated Alfonso Blanco) and with his odds sitting at 8/1, it just might be worthwhile to take the chance.