Cullen vs Chelli Prediction: Zak seeks revenge, this time with a crowd

 | January 19 | 

3 mins read

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The last time super middleweights Zak Chelli and Jack Cullen met, there was no crowd. The fight took place at Matchroom HQ in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday they get the chance to do it again, this time at a packed M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool. Cullen will put his British and Commonwealth 168-pound titles on the line against a man who still carries a grievance from the 2020 split draw they shared.

Cullen vs Chelli Betting Tips

  • Zak Chelli to win @ 5/4
  • Zak Chelli by decision @ 7/2

While honours were even last time these two shared a ring, very few agreed with the scorecards rendered by two of the three judges. Mark Lyson’s 97-93 in favour of Chelli reflected the viewpoint of most observers. But Victor Loughlin’s 96-95 for Cullen drew immense scorn with Ian John-Lewis’ 95-95 verdict not faring much better.

It is an injustice Chelli has not forgotten. Particularly as he has had to watch a man most believe he beat ascend to championship status. Cullen would get the opportunity to fight former world title challenger Avni Yildirim, fresh off his fight with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ outpointed the Turkish star over ten rounds. 

That victory secured him a shot at the European title, though Cullen was cut down in six rounds by Kevin Lele Sadjo. A keep-busy win over Vladimir Belujsky put him back on track before Kevin Pacheco destroyed him in four rounds. While the doors to the world staged had slammed in Jack’s face again, the domestic scene was there for the taking. Cullen looked brilliant last time out, wiping out Mark Heffron to win the British and Commonwealth titles.

Cullen’s journey in the last three years has seen him get multiple opportunities, some taken and some not. Chelli would arguably that he has not received the same level of opportunity. He has gone 7-1 since the draw but has not been anointed with European title fights or bouts for IBF and WBO ranking belts like Cullen. 

Now though, Chelli gets his chance to prove it should have been him contesting continental honours and facing former ‘Canelo’ opponents. With revenge on his mind and the British and Commonwealth titles on the line, Chelli gets to put that controversial first fight behind him.

Despite the fact he has only lost once since that first fight compared to Cullen’s two knockout defeats, Chelli finds himself as the underdog here. Perhaps the old cliche of a challenger having to work harder to take a champion’s title than the titleholder does to retain it rings true. But considering how more switched-on judges would have awarded Chelli a decision three years ago, there is incentive to back the underdog.

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You can get 5/4 on Chelli to take home the win. If he has more luck with the judges this time, a decision is 7/2. Neither man is a concussive puncher, with Chelli stopping seven of his 14 victims while Cullen has halted 10 of 22. Expect this one to go the full way, even if Cullen has been stopped a couple of times over the last three years.

Chelli is my pick for this one. He knows the formula necessary to beat Cullen and, if he sticks to his guns, he should do enough to have his hand raised. A pair of stoppage defeats in recent fights could have dulled Cullen’s resistance a little, meaning this fight might not be as close as last time. I’m going for a new British and Commonwealth champion and a redemption story for the challenger.

You can find all our latest boxing tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page 

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