Both the Boxing and MMA worlds are packed full of important fights in June, as well as some exciting scraps that just seem like a good time! Here are my picks for the must-see fights for June.
June 4th: Devin Haney vs Jorge Kambosos (BOXING)
June 7th: Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire 2 (BOXING)
June 18th: Artur Beterbiev vs Joe Smith Jr. (BOXING)
June 11th: Glover Teixeira vs Jiri Prochazka (MMA)
June 24th: Gegard Mousasi vs Johnny Elben (MMA)
June 4th: Devin Haney vs Jorge Kambosos
Image Credit: Boxing 247
Devin Haney fighting Jorge Kambosos is exactly the kind of fight boxing fans have been calling for in the stacked lightweight division- 2 of the best, both champions, putting their titles on the line to settle the question of who is king.
Devin Haney: Haney is possibly the most technically skilled lightweight of the four current champions. He has excellent footwork, fantastic punching form, and almost ghost-like defense that takes influence from Pernell Whittaker. His one weakness is that he is not a powerful puncher, and in his last outing despite regularly landing lengthy combos he was unable to damage Jorje Linares. Look for him to try to outclass Kambosos with pure textbook boxing and use clever footwork to avoid Kambosos’ strong counterpunches.
Jorge Kambosos: Kambosos was at one time a somewhat overlooked fighter at lightweight, overshadowed by the loud antics or flashy skillsets of other fighters in the division. But that all changed with his clinical destruction of the dominant Teofimo Lopez. A powerful counterpuncher with good upper body movement and a bulldog attitude, Kambosos’ game plan against Haney will likely be to test the skillful lightweight’s grit and chin at any and every opportunity, knowing that it is highly unlikely Haney can hurt him.
Prediction: Too Close to Call. I think Haney is honestly difficult to beat in this division, but man Kambosos *loves* losing bookies' money. He has been the underdog in his 2 most recent contests, and he has risen to the occasion both times. That, coupled with the fact that Kambosos’ style is probably the best style to employ against him (aside from simply being a better boxer like Lomachenko) makes me far too uncertain to make a clear call here, and that is exciting.
Where to watch: Live on ESPN+ June 4th
June 7th: Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire 2
Image Credit: Top Rank Boxing
After their incredible clash that was a contender for fight of the year in 2021, Naoya Inoue and Donaire are set to meet once more now that Donaire has cleared through multiple champions to make it back to the top contender spot. If you can only watch 1 fight this month, this is the one to watch.
Naoya Inoue: Known as the monster, Naoya Inoue is the epitome of classy violence. He’s got sharp, accurate, devastatingly powerful punches thrown in combinations along with fast feet, good fundamentals, and a warrior’s spirit (he fought with a broken eye socket in the first Donaire fight and won). Look for him to hunt aggressively during this fight and look to punish Donaire to the body early.
Nonito Donaire: Donaire is a veteran but still an elite level contender, his style has evolved to suit his experience. Firing sharp counters from range, Donaire’s check left hook and his short right hand are his weapons of choice for ending fighters that get too confident, and have been used to devastating effect in every fight since his loss to Donaire. Look for him to try and be a wily boxer, leveraging his wealth of experience against the younger fighter.
Prediction: Inoue by Late KO. Donaire has more than a puncher’s chance here, but Inoue is a different beast. He’s a destructive, fast, high-skill pressure fighter that is a nightmare for just about anyone at or around his weight.
Where to watch: Live on ESPN+ June 7th
June 18th: Artur Beterbiev vs Joe Smith Jr.
Image Credit: Top Rank Boxing
An exciting class at light heavyweight between IBF/WBC champion Beterbiev and incredibly tough challenger Joe Smith Jr. that is especially interesting due to its implications for a future undisputed fight at 175.
Artur Beterbiev: Beterbiev is widely considered one of the best light heavyweights in the sport today, and it is not hard to see why. He’s seemingly untiring and has the great equalizer in both hands. His favored weapon is a short right hand over the top followed by mauling hooks to the body and head at super close range, a pattern that has served him well throughout his career as a fighter. Look for him to throw that short right hand over the top of Smith’s often pawing jab.
Joe Smith Jr.: Joe Smith is probably the closest we will get to a modern Rocky. He’s seemingly impervious to damage, hits like a mule, and will follow you for 12 rounds doing 1 thing and 1 thing only: trying to remove your head from your body. Characterized by a pawing jab and lunging attacks, Joe Smith is a classic aggressive slugger. Look for him to meet Beterbiev’s forward motion with his own and bet his chin on a knockout.
Prediction: Beterbiev by late stoppage. Joe Smith is one of the toughest fighters I’ve ever seen, but even granite cracks eventually, and I think Beterbiev’s better technique and faster feet will be the key here.
Where to watch: Live on ESPN+ June 18th
June 11th: Glover Teixeira vs Jiri Prochazka
Image Credit: UFC
After Teixeira’s upset victory to claim the light heavyweight strap in his last outing, he now defends it against destructive striking ace Jiri Prochazka in a fascinating grappler vs striker matchup.
Glover Teixeira: A rugged veteran with a solid wrestling base, Teixeira’s game plan is simple but effective: Take the fight to the ground, secure the mount, and rain down strikes. The issue is that when he’s on his feet, he is consistently outstruck by opponents, and only makes up the difference when he secures a takedown.
Jiri Prochazka: nearly the polar opposite of Glover, Jiri is a striking specialist with a talent for controlling range and dealing a huge amount of damage in a startlingly short amount of time. He’s won several fights by flash knockout and is dangerous at practically any angle on his feet. He’ll look to strike Glover from range and finish this fight like he has his others.
Prediction: Jiri by knockout. I know I bet against Glover and lost last time, but in my defense so did every other analyst in the business! I just don’t think he’s going to be able to weather the storm long enough to get a hold of Jiri but mark my words if he does I will never call a fight against him again.
Where to watch: Live on ESPN+ June 11th
June 24th: Gegard Mousasi vs Johnny Eblen
Image Credit: SB Nation
Gegard Mousasi has been on a 4 fight win streak including two successful title defenses against worthy contenders, and Johnny Elben is an undefeated fighter on a meteoric rise, making this a very interesting contest.
Gegard Mousasi: A dynamic striker with solid takedown defense and the ability to ground and pound when necessary, Mousasi is a man who is comfortable at all levels of the game. He’s very hard to fluster, often looking almost bored in the cage and clinically picking opponents apart. Look for him to try and neutralize Eblen from range to avoid the takedown attempts.
Johnny Eblen: An undefeated rising prospect with wins over many of the same opponents as Mousasi, he’s got a penchant for single-leg takedowns and heavy hands. I expect him, as the challenger, to come out aggressive and try to force a firefight leading into a takedown where he will have the advantage.
Prediction: Gegard Mousasi by decision. You know me, I LOVE experience in matchups like this, when it's a raw talent prospect vs a tried and tested veteran I will always bet on the veteran to bring it home.
Where to watch: Live on Showtime June 24th
Note: All June 2022 fight information is accurate as of May 22, 2022.
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