This weekend’s ‘Super Saturday’ continued to attract mass-interest from UK punters this year, with punters wagering bets on the Epsom Derby, the Champions League Final, and the fight between Anthony Joshua vs Ruiz Jr.
The all-English Champions league final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur attracted the most attention from punters in terms of bets placed, closely followed by the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs racecourse.
Harry Aitkenhead, PR Executive at Ladbrokes Coral, explained: “The all English final in the Champions League was the biggest event of the weekend in terms of bets placed although the racing at Epsom on the Friday and the Saturday was hugely popular too.
“The boxing proved less so, mostly due to the time it was on, and bets were ever so slightly down on what we might usually take on a Joshua fight. That said, the result might well drive more interest for his next bout!”
Some bookmakers had expressed concerns that the bumper weekend of sports may impact the viewing figures for the Derby, with expectations that bettors may opt to watch the football over the racing. Aitkenhead, however, confirmed that this was not necessarily the case.
He commented: “We had thought that maybe the Derby would potentially attract less bets than previous years but if anything the ‘Super Saturday’ helped to drive more interest in it.
“With 1.75m people watching on ITV, nearly exactly the same as the year before, people were still watching and the level of bets was very much in line with other previous runnings of the great race.
“The Cricket World Cup on home soil is also proving very popular with punters and with two games on Saturday including big hitters Australia it really was a bumper day.”
While viewing figures were slightly lower than expected with the Anthony Joshua fight against Ruiz Jr, it is expected that the Olympic gold medallist will still come out on top in the rematch between the two.
Having conceded defeat to the Mexican, the match – according to Aitkenhead – was disruptive in terms of betting activity. He added: “It was one of the biggest upsets in sport in a single match or event from a betting point of view, with Joshua 1-25 to win before it began. It brings back memories for many of Buster Douglas turning over Mike Tyson in 1990, which was 40-1 to happen, and Japan beating South Africa at 66-1 in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
“All the interest before the fight was on what round Joshua might win in, with six and seven the most popular bets placed, and whilst the seventh round was the final not many had Ruiz as the victor.
“We make AJ 1-3 to win the rematch, so he is still very much the favourite but significantly longer odds than he was before Saturday night. Ruiz is 5-2 to repeat his victory, with a draw 28-1. We will certainly be giving the Mexican a lot more respect than we did and punters might well still take that 5-2 available.
“After Joshua went down for the first time, he still remained the 2-5 favourite with Ruiz the 7-4 outsider. Whilst this was still a big swing from the early odds, we have seen Joshua get knocked down before and win and we weren’t too phased.
“Likewise with Ruiz getting knocked down, the odds didn’t change dramatically. The fighters in the heavyweight division are so powerful at the moment that they just seem to keep getting back up.
“However after the trouble continued to come thick and fast for AJ after the first time and we quickly made Ruiz the favourite for the win and he duly completed the upset just a few rounds later. The longest odds Ruiz got to in play was around 33-1 and not too many people backed him!”