Richards vs Hutchinson Predictions: Willy can win battle of Britain

 | Thursday 30th May 2024, 12:10pm

Thursday 30th May 2024, 12:10pm

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Craig Richards takes on Willy Hutchinson this Saturday, June 1 at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The fight will open proceedings in the Queensberry vs Matchroom 5v5 tournament. DAZN PPV will screen this light heavyweight collision.

Here are my Richards vs Hutchinson predictions ahead of the opening salvo in this promotional rivalry.

Hutchinson vs Richards Tips

  • Hutchinson to win @ 13/10

Richards vs Hutchinson Odds

This fight is the only all-British clash on the bill in Saudi. Croydon veteran Richards takes on the up-and-coming Carstairs man Hutchinson in a traditional crossroads clash. The term is perhaps overused, being wrongly-deployed to explain away all manner of journeyman vs prospect clashes. But this is a true crossroads match-up.

The key ingredient of such a fight is the stage both men meet at. The idea that one has their best days behind them, but not too far in the distance that they could not temporarily return. While the other fighter has bigger fights in their future, if they can get past this latest obstacle. Far from just youth vs experience, a crossroads fight is generally a meeting between one fighter approaching their peak and one set to leave it behind. 

Richards has been there and almost done it. ‘Spider’ put up a spirited challenge to WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, acquitting himself well opposite a boxer almost nobody looks good against. A loss to Joshua Buatsi followed a year later, leaving him battling to hold on at world level.

Now at 34, he is being pitched against a young prospect on the rise. Richards is still world-ranked by three of the four major sanctioning bodies, but that status will evaporate if he loses here. Even in a 175-pound class that is weaker than in previous years, a loss to Hutchinson will probably take Richards out of contention for good.

Hutchinson finds himself with an opportunity to add the first true standout name to his CV here. ‘Braveheart’ has amassed an 18-1 record, with his sole defeat coming three years ago. Lennox Clarke stopped him in a British and Commonwealth title fight down at super middleweight. 

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Since then, Hutchinson has been flawless. Still only 25, he has taken that defeat in the right way; as a learning experience. Hutchinson’s efforts have seen the WBC, WBO and IBF place the Scot in their rankings. All that’s missing is a remarkable scalp to fortify his record.

Hutchinson’s best win is probably his fourth-round knockout of Olympian-turned-gatekeeper Ezequiel Maderna. The Argentine has been in with champions like Fedor Chudinov and Artur Beterbiev as well as Bivol’s Saturday challenger, Malik Zinad. Far from a formality, the win proved Hutchinson belongs in good company.

But Richards is a tougher challenge altogether. Anyone who can run Bivol close and hang with Buatsi is a fighter of quality. ‘Spider’ will be wary of becoming a divisional gatekeeper. No fighter wants to merely be seen as an attractive name to be collected by the next generation. If Richards doesn’t beat Hutchinson, that is exactly the category in which he will find himself. 

Hutchinson is in possession of a powerful overhand right that Richards will have to watch for. The Londoners style involves a high, conventional guard that could be useful for snuffing out that weapon. But Hutchinson throws punches in bunches, and Richards will have to tuck up and then counter with his own shots to have any success. 

I think this will be a harder fight than Hutchinson is used to. The mistakes of the Clarke loss have been erased, so he’ll handle the challenge better. But Richards will still be a significant test. But I’m backing ‘Braveheart’ to adjust to the levels by halfway and take over. I’m backing Hutchinson to emerge with the win at 13/10. This Riyadh-hosted battle of Britain goes to the Scots.

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

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