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Ben Whittaker Takes on Ezra Arenyeka in First Real Test

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Ben Whittaker, the 2020 Olympic silver medalist, is fighting Ezra Arenyeka on June 15 at Selhurst Park. The fight will be shown live on Sky Sports and is a clash between two undefeated prospects. Whittaker moved to 7-0 after a dominant outing against Leon Willings in March at The O2 in his fight.

Arenyeka, dubbed The Nigerian King, may be unknown, but he’s no slouch. Fighting out of Manchester, England, he has a perfect 12-0 record. Only one fighter has managed to go the distance with the heavy puncher. Whittaker will have to be careful with his showboating antics because even a grazing punch from Arenyeka could have the young Brit seeing stars.

Ben Whittaker Is a Viral Sensation

Despite not being a world champion and not fighting anyone of note, the boxing world has become enamored with the 26-year-old thanks to his in-ring antics. The British fighter has been racking up millions of views online as clips of him dancing during fights and clowning his opponents have gone viral.

Whittaker has quickly become a divisive figure. Some fans think he’s being disrespectful and want to see him humbled, while others believe Whittaker is making boxing entertaining. 

Whichever side of the fence you fall on, you’ve got to hand it to Whittaker, who stands directly in front of his opponents with his hands by his side, begging them to hit them. At the last second, he moves out of the way and breaks out in dance. The Brit’s antics are reminiscent of Emanuel Augustus, dubbed The Drunken Master. Augustus was a master at evading punches and toying with his opponents. 

August never won a world title, however, Floyd Mayweather claims The Drunken Master gave him his toughest fight. Whittaker is hoping to dance all the way to a world title shot.

Ezra Arenyeka Is Looking to Spoil the Party

Arenyeka stormed Whittaker’s press conference prior to his bout against Leon Willings and demanded a fight. Despite not knowing who The Nigerian King was, he agreed to the bout. Arenyeka isn’t impressed with Whittaker’s showboating style, and has called him a diva and says he’s nothing more than a kid.

The Brit fired back saying he experienced the Nigerian’s level of boxing when he was seven years old. He doesn’t expect Arenyeka to trouble him at all. 

The Nigerian appears to have switched his tune after the fight was announced, showering Whittaker with compliments. He said the Brit is a warrior and that the fight will be a great opportunity to test his skills and further his career. 

Arenyeka has come up the tough way. He isn’t signed by a big-time promoter and doesn’t have a management team carefully guiding him to a world title fight. In fact, in his last fight, he fought in a Colombian village.

Arenyeka is hoping to rewrite his boxing career. If he’s able to defeat Whittaker, every promoter in the world will want a piece of him, and he’ll be on the fast track to a belt. But it won’t be easy. 

Behind Whittaker’s showboating antics is a world-class boxer with an enviable amateur pedigree. He’s been all over the world and has defeated the best boxers from Cuba, America, and Russia. The 26-year-old won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships and followed it up with a silver medal at the 2020 Olympics.

Don’t count out Arenyeka just yet. He’s no doubt a massive underdog, but the man can punch and has a rough and tough style that could cause Whittaker problems. Also, if Whittaker gets too lackadaisical in the ring, he may be clipped by the Nigerian and could find himself on the canvas.

We’re not brave enough to back the underdog in this fight. However, it should be Whittaker’s biggest test to date. If he puts on a dominant display, then we could see the 26-year-old challenge for a world title at the end of 2024 or in early 2025. If he struggles, then the hype train may slow a little.

With so much amateur experience, there’s no point wasting the Brit’s prime. If he’s going to become a multi-division and household name, he needs to win his first belt within the next 18 months!

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Boxing

Ben Whittaker’s Showboating Style Has Captivated Boxing Fans

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Boxers Sparring

Ben Whittaker has gone viral numerous times for his in-ring antics, where he mimics legends like Roy Jones Jr. and Emanuel Augustus. In the middle of the fight, Whittaker will start dancing and mocking his opponent’s inability to hit him. 

The young British boxer moves a fraction of an inch to evade the punch before responding with his own laser-accurate shots and skipping around the ring like he’s on the dance floor. 

Whittaker is fearless in the ring. He stands directly in front of professional boxers with his hands down, dodging punch after punch. The light heavyweight seems to know exactly what his opponent is going to throw and when. 

Whittaker isn’t just a defensive maestro. He also has lightning-quick punches and can throw three or four shots before his opponents even have time to respond with a jab. With such impressive skills, it’s no wonder why boxing fans are so excited about this UK prospect.

Where Did Ben Whittaker Come From?

Until the 26-year-old Brit went viral, only hardcore boxing fans knew anything about Whittaker; however, he’s been lighting up the amateur circuit since 2018. He won the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships and took silver at the European Championships that same year.

The slick light heavyweight then went one better at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, making it all the way to the finals, where he eventually lost to Cuban Arlen Lopez. The young Brit showed his winner’s mentality in the post-fight commentary. Whittaker said, “You don’t win silver, you lose gold. I’m very disappointed – I feel like a failure.”

After the Tokyo Olympics, Whittaker went pro and is currently being trained by SugarHill Steward, who is related to master coach Emmanuel Steward and is the trainer of world champion Tyson Fury. Since going pro, the light heavyweight built up a perfect 7-0 record with five knockouts.

How Good Is Whittaker?

Whittaker’s showboating style has been slightly controversial because the prospect has only fought people way below his level. Critics say it’s easy to look like prime Roy Jones Jr. when you’re fighting plumbers and taxi drivers with losing records.

Right now, we don’t know just how good Whittaker is. He’s obviously an immense talent and has an incredible amateur pedigree, but that doesn’t mean he’ll become a world champion. 

Whittaker has ridiculous hand speed, is a master at slipping punches, and is capable of flashing combination punches. However, professional boxing is very different from amateur boxing, and many world champions and Olympic gold medalists have failed to make the transition. We’ll have to wait and see whether Whittaker can make the transition. 

At the moment, his 7-0 record is largely meaningless, as he’s only fought one fighter with a winning record. We know Whittaker has good reflexes and highly accurate punches. However, there are questions about his stamina and punching power. Also, we don’t know how durable he is, as Whittaker’s chin hasn’t been tested in the professional ranks yet.

Promoter Ben Shalom Believes He’s Found the Next Superstar

After turning pro, Whittaker made a slightly odd decision to sign up with little-known promotional company BOXXER, led by Ben Shalom, who is smitten with his new signing. Shalom said, “He’s an absolute showman. He’s a superstar. Peacock and NBC are going absolutely crazy for him. He did 100 million views across platforms on his last fight. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Shalom said he didn’t just sign the Brit for his showmanship but genuinely believes he’s one of the most talented boxers he’s ever come across. The boxing promoter was also incredibly impressed with Whittaker’s amateur background and amazed at the Brit’s ability to defeat much older and experienced Eastern European and Cuban boxers.

What’s Next for Whittaker?

Whittaker only fought on March 31, when he easily defeated Leon Willings. Whittaker won every round but failed to stop Willings and was even hit flush during his showboating antics. 

The light heavyweight prospect has had enough tune-up fights. It’s time he fought some real competition. Hopefully, he will fight someone in the top 15 in his match, which should give us insight into just how far the 26-year-old can go. Boxers like Diyab Simon Dabschah, Bilel Latreche, or Harald Pfingstl would be a good test for Whittaker!

Read More: Artur Beterbiev vs Dmitry Bivol Preview

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Who Will Be Crowned the Undisputed King of the Light Heavyweight Divison?

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Boxing Punch on a punching bag

The fight all boxing fans have been waiting for is finally going down. Artur Beterbiev is taking on Dmitry Bivol in a bid to unify the light heavyweight division. Beterbiev is the WBC, IBF, and WBO champion while Bivol holds the WBA belt.

The light heavyweight showdown is set to go down on June 1 in Saudi Arabia. Both fighters will walk away with seven-figure paydays. Bivol’s team is hoping they’re catching Beterbiev at the right moment. At 39 years old, Beterbiev doesn’t have many fights left, but as all boxing fans know, a fighter’s power is the last thing to leave him, and Beterbiev is one of the biggest punchers in all of boxing.

Someone’s 0 Has Got to Go

Artur Beterbiev has a scary 20-0 record, with all wins coming from a knockout. Most of Beterbiev’s opponents don’t make it past round six, and no one has gone the distance with the tough Russian. It’s shocking how much power he can generate from short, seemingly arm punches. 

Most boxers really snap their hips and throw their weight into punches to create concussive power, but not Beterbiev. He has god-given natural punching power. From a short punch on the inside, he can knock out world-class boxers with ease.

Dmitry Bivol is also undefeated with a 22-0 record, but he only has 11 knockouts. The Saint Petersburg resident has a much more impressive resume than Beterbiev, with wins over Canelo Alvarez and Jean Pascal. They both have a win over American Joe Smith Jr.

A Clash of Styles

Despite both fighters being schooled in the Russian style of boxing, they have very different techniques. Bivol has a classic Soviet style of boxing; he’s constantly bouncing on his toes and measuring his opponents with his jab. He’s very defensively responsible and barely gets hit. 

Bivol: The Technical Masterclass

The 33-year-old is a master at measuring distance and, due to his excellent positioning, is often able to hit his opponents and then move ever so slightly out of range. Bivol’s style is incredibly frustrating for his opponents, who often waste their energy throwing shots that completely miss or land on his gloves.

Bivol doesn’t have devastating punching power and isn’t a knockout artist. Instead, he wears opponents down with fast, hard and accurate punchers. He also stuns opposing fighters with shots that they never see coming.

The Saint Petersburg fighter is also known for incredible stamina. He can effortlessly fight for 12 rounds and throws a high number of punches, not giving his opponents a chance to rest. For a fighter like Bivol, it’s a shame that matches are no longer 15 rounds, and we’re sure he’d have even more knockouts.

If you want to see Bivol in perfect form, watch his match against Canelo. The Russian put on a boxing clinic against the legendary Mexican champion. Bivol floated around the ring, landing accurate punches while Canelo struggled to break through the Russian’s iron defense.

Beterbiev: The Ruthless Puncher

Even though Beterbiev had a very impressive amateur boxing background in Russia, which included a gold medal at the 2009 World Championships, he doesn’t fight like your typical Soviet fighter. Beterbiev is a brawler with ridiculous power, and his style is reminiscent of Gennady Golovkin but is even more ferocious.

Beterbiev believes in his power so much that he’ll stand in the pocket and take two or three punches from his opponent in a bid to land just one of his own. He knows that if he can even land a grazing blow, he can send his opponents to the canvas for good. With 20 knockouts from 20 fights, it’s hard to argue with the effectiveness of Beterbiev’s style.

Bivol vs Beterbiev is a classic boxer vs puncher match-up which has been going on in boxing for 100+ years. Very rarely do you see two undefeated champions go toe to toe. This is set to be one of the best fights of the last decade.

The sportsbooks have this a pick’em fight. However, we give a slight edge to Bivol. Beterbiev struggled against a fighter similar to Bivol, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and needed a late-round knockout to win. Bivol is a level above Gvozdyk, and we think Beterbiev won’t find a way through his defense! 

Read More: The Three-way EPL Title Fight Heats Up

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Joshua May Pull the Plug After Super Fight With Fury

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Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua has made a statement to the heavyweight division after brutally knocking out Francis Ngannou in their clash in Saudi Arabia. The Brit dominated, crushing right hands that landed flush on the MMA star’s chin and sent him crashing down to the canvas. The last right hand was particularly nasty, completely flatlining Ngannou.

For five minutes of work in Saudi Arabia, Joshua reportedly earned $50 million. There was massive pressure on AJ going into the fight. If he lost to Ngannou, who is a boxing novice, Joshua’s career would be in tatters. However, he did himself and boxing proud, scoring a stunning knockout.

Even though Joshua is still in his prime, fans are wondering when the British heavyweight will hang up the gloves. The former world champion also has three career defeats, including a huge upset loss to Andy Ruiz, which he managed to avenge.

However, his two defeats against Oleksandr Usyk really had fans wondering how long the 34-year-old has left. Also, there aren’t many other fighters left to tango with after the Deontay Wilder fight fell through. 

Joshua has come out and said he has no plans to retire. He said, “I want to keep on pushing my brain and trying new things. Get quicker, stronger, smarter in the ring. Face challenges, because I learn so much about myself. And then when it’s enough, enough is enough.”

The Elusive Tyson Fury Fight Could Be the Dream Send-Off for the British Heavyweight

We can picture it now: 90,000 screaming fans packed into Wembley with the heavyweight belt on the line between two incredible British fighters. The build-up to the fight between Joshua and Fury would be incredible. 

Also, even though the sportsbooks would have Fury as the big favorite, this is a very close fight. Fury has never fought a fighter like Joshua, who is technically very sound and has great stamina and serious thudding power. Fury may not be able to push Joshua around the ring, and AJ has enough craftsmanship to measure his distance and walk Fury onto shots.

If Joshua can score a fantastic victory against Fury and reclaim the belt, he may call it quits. There wouldn’t be a much better moment to retire. Winning the title back on home soil and walking away with a record payout would be the stuff of legends.

Eddie Hearns Lays Out Dream Plan for Joshua

Joshua’s long-time promoter, Eddie Hearn, believes Joshua has up to seven fights left in his career but could see the 34-year-old retiring in as little as four. The promoter said, “When I look at AJ’s career, I’d say… between four and six or seven fights left, and all he wants to do now is he wants to beat Tyson Fury, you know. He may even try and avenge the Usyk fight, maybe fight Deontay.”

In an ideal world, Joshua would knock out Fury in his next fight, avenge the losses to Usyk, and then send Wilder into another world with a crushing right hand. If he could go on that run, he’d go down as this generation’s best heavyweight and earn hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.

Throughout his career, Joshua has been under immense pressure. Eddie Hearn, from day one, has marketed him as the biggest thing in boxing. And while Joshua has had an impressive career, he failed to become the global superstar Hearn had predicted. His losses against Usyk and failure to take on Fury and Wilder have hurt his popularity. 

There’s still time for Joshua to go down as the best heavyweight for the last 20 years. But he faces an uphill battle. After being comfortably beaten by Usyk twice, it seems unlikely he’ll be able to get the job done against the Ukrainian.

Also, Fury will be a significant favorite if the two Brits ever get in the ring. It remains to be seen how he’ll handle Fury’s large weight advantage and rough-and-tumble style. Fury is also deceptively quick and elusive, which will cause the plodding Joshua some serious issues.

After his brutal knockout over Ngannou, we’ll just have to wait and see which direction Joshua takes his career. We’ll definitely see him in the ring again! 

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