By Steve Kim Updated on May 31, 2024

'5 vs 5' Preview

Picture for '5 vs 5' Preview

So the long-awaited light heavyweight showdown between Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev will not take place this Saturday at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. With Beterbiev's yearly training injury, that undisputed contest will take place sometime in the autumn months. But there is still an interesting card taking place that pits fighters representing Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn.

These two long-time arch-rivals, who have seemingly battled for control of the British boxing business for years, are now breaking bread at the behest -- and war chest --  of Turki Alalshikh. He has brought the two companies (Queensberry Promotions and Matchroom Boxing) to the table.

Yeah, nothing brings people together in this business quite like an exorbitant amount of money. 

Picture for '5 vs 5' PreviewRiyadh Season

The format here is simple, both Warren and Hearn have each brought five boxers to the card who are paired against foes from the opposing company. Here's a quick look at the highlights of that bill....

- Zhilei Zhang vs Deontay Wilder (Heavyweights)

This is a pairing of two big men who are coming off losses. Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs), despite sending Joseph Parker to the canvas twice back in March, lost a 12-round majority decision. Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) is a fighter who is desperate need of a victory. Since the beginning of 2020, he has won just a single fight (a first round blowout of Robert Helenius in 2022), and was beaten twice by Tyson Fury, and then the aforementioned Parker back in December.
Picture for '5 vs 5' PreviewRiyadh Season

This is a classic crossroads match-up, that pits two hard hitting heavyweights against each other. Zhang will have a significant weight advantage but unlike Parker, should be a much more stationary target. Wilder's right hand should find Zhang at certain points. But you wonder if he has his legs underneath him at this point. If Zhang makes him back up early, this could be a very tough night for Wilder.

Zhang is rated fifth in the division by Ring Magazine, with Wilder coming in at number nine.

-- Daniel Dubois vs Filip Hrgovic (Heavyweights)

This is another bout pitting two heavyweights rated in the top 10 by Ring Magazine. Dubois (20-2, 19 KOs) had an eventful second half of 2023. Some think he actually stopped Oleksandr Usyk with a borderline low-blow in their bout in the late summer. Then the big boned Dubois wore down Jarrell Miller in 10 rounds, scoring a late stoppage.

Picture for '5 vs 5' PreviewRiyadh Season

As for Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs), he has been biding time as the IBF's top ranked contender. With a victory, he is in line to either fight for the title, or a vacated version of the belt. Either way, this is a pivotal fight.  Hrgovic may be too well-rounded for Dubois, whose punching prowess should make things interesting.

-- Hamzah Sheeraz vs Ammo Williams (Middleweights)

It's not often that you see two highly touted prospects get paired off so early in their careers. But this is part of what Mr. Alalshikh is trying to bring to boxing. Sheeraz (19-0, 15 KOs) is a prospect who has spent a good deal of his development training in Southern California under the direction of Ricky Funez. He's a wiry 6'3, who has power in both hands. Sheeraz stopped former title contender, Liam Williams, in one round in his last outing.

Picture for '5 vs 5' PreviewRiyadh Season

In Williams (16-0, 11 KOs),  he's facing an athletic boxer-puncher, who may not have his power, but is quicker and more athletic. 

- Raymond Ford vs. Nick Ball (WBA Featherweight Title)

Ford (15-0-1, 8 KOs)gets right back into the fire in what is his first title defense. A couple of months ago he scored a dramatic last second KO of Otabek Kohlmatov to win this vacant WBA featherweight strap. Ford will face the hard-luck Ball (19-0-1, 11 KOs),  who despite scoring two second half knockdowns of the awkward Rey Vargas had to settle for a draw in his bid for the WBC 126-pound strap.

Picture for '5 vs 5' Preview

The speed and quickness of Ford should carry the early rounds, but he did look like a boxer who was going to have to stretch to make the 126-pound weight limit. Ball is a hard-nosed grinder who just keeps coming with steady pressure. Look for this bout to get very interesting in the late rounds. 

It's interesting to note that while Ford is the defending champion, Ring has him rated seventh in the weight class, while the challenger, Ball, is fourth.



'The 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez and I is back. This week show has a full preview of this card, and a look back at Jack Catterall's victory over Josh Taylor:


Click on the Linktree to subscribe on your preferred podcast platform:

3knockdownrule - Listen on YouTube, Spotify - Linktree




Rounding out the '5 vs 5' is a light heavyweight clash between Craig Richards and Willy Hutchinson... Also, Bivol will defend his WBA 175-pound title by facing Malik Zinad....It was announced by His Excellency that the rematch between Usyk and Tyson Fury will take place on December 21....Gustavo Lemos, who pushed Richardson Hitchins to the limit, has signed a promotional deal with Top Rank...I can be reached at


About Author
'5 vs 5' Preview
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for
  • Was a boxing reporter for from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.