THERE had been talk of Queensberry setting up a match between light-heavyweights Willy Hutchinson and Karol Itauma – until Itauma ran into Argentine veteran Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna.

Itauma was shockingly stopped in five rounds by the 36-year-old Argentine on the Anthony Yarde-Artur Beterbiev undercard at Wembley Arena in January.

Maderna bloodied the Chatham southpaw’s nose in the first and then survived a few rocky moments to have Itauma – who rebuilds against Frenchman Khalid Graidia, 10-9-4 (2), on this bill – in desperate trouble in the fourth before knocking him out with a right in the fifth.

Hutchinson, whose fight with Emil Markic on that show fell through, meets Maderna over 10 rounds at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Saturday night. BT Sport televise.

It will be Hutchinson’s first test up at light-heavyweight since moving up from 168lbs after being mauled by Lennox Clarke for the vacant British and vacant Commonwealth super-middleweight titles in March 2021.

Up at 175lbs, and with Mirko Wolf in his corner after switching from Dominic Ingle, Hutchinson, 15-1 (11), has had confidence-building stoppages over 40-year-old Czech Karel Horejsek and underwhelming Italian Luca Spadaccini.

Neither fight told us anything we didn’t already know about the 24-year-old Scot. Hutchinson showed top-class hand speed and punch variety against limited opposition, but he’s always done as he pleases against that level.

The Spadaccini fight did tick one box for the Hutchinson, however. It was the first time he had been past six rounds.

Maderna has been past six rounds 13 times in 29-10 (19) pro career and has also completed the 10-round distance nine times.

Maderna has been stopped four times – three times inside four rounds – and Hutchinson said: “Itauma had him going and didn’t finish him.”

Maderna went into that having lost four of his previous five (two early), but he pushed Pawel Stepien – beaten by Joshua Buatsi last weekend – to a majority vote over eight in Poland and took rounds off Malik Zinad.

Further back, Maderna boxed in the 2008 Olympics and 2007 World Championships and he’s fought at a good level in the pros as well. Of Maderna’s 10 losses, four were inflicted by fighters who had competed or went on to compete at world level; Edwin Rodriguez, Artur Beterbiev, Jose Uzcategui and Fedor Chudinov. Beterbiev had Maderna down four times in a four-round defeat in June 2016.

It tells us something about his spirit that Maderna got up three times and talking to Maderna at the Itauma weigh in, there was a steeliness about him. He was untroubled by his 0-8 record in fights outside Argentina or Itauma’s reputation.

We have to wonder what happens if Maderna can take Hutchinson’s best shots early and keep coming? Because the Scot unravelled once the robust Clarke had weathered the early storm and then put it on him.

I don’t think Maderna has the feet to swarm all over Hutchinson the way Clarke did, but if he can get him in the corners and the Scot’s chin comes up the way it does occasionally, we could see another shock. Maderna has 19 early wins on his record.

But he has to be able to catch the slick Hutchinson and also avoid the heavy shots that will be coming his way from all angles. That could be too much of an ask at this stage of his career. We fancy Hutchinson to get the stoppage around the middle rounds while looking good in the process.

Manchester’s Hosea Burton, 28-3 (12), summed up his cruiserweight 10-rounder against Ellis Zorro, 15-0 (6), on the show by saying: “This is make or break for him… this is my ‘Last Chance Saloon’.”

Burton is a 34-year-old former British light-heavyweight champion who moved up to 200lbs after defeat to Dan Azeez and has had two routine wins at 200lbs over fighters with a combined record of 34-123-5.

He is untested at the weight and Zorro is untested at championship level.

The flashy 30-year-old from Lewisham did win Ultimate Boxxer last May and came through a decent test last November, dropping Dec Spelman in the fourth with a body shot and coming through a dramatic seventh to win 77-74 over eight.

Spelman was also moving up from 175lbs, but at 6ft 4ins, Burton may be better suited to 200lbs. He has struggled late in fights at 175lbs, but we fancy Burton can hold off Zorro and beat him on points.

THE VERDICT – Two interesting matchups atop Queensbury’s latest prospect show.