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Preview: Showdown Between Anthony Joshua and Franics Ngannou



British Professional Boxer Anthony Joshua OBE

Fresh off his incredible performance against Tyson Fury, Francis Ngannou takes on former WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO Champion Anthony Joshua.

In recent years, Joshua has been focused on rebuilding his career after losing twice to Oleksandr Usyk. He’s hoping to quickly dispatch Ngannou and then take on the winner of the Fury and Usyk bout, which would see him potentially gain the title of Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Ultimately, though, Joshua needs to be on his A-game for Ngannou. He must be fully prepared if he’s to stand a chance against the 6 ft 4 and 257-pound former UFC Champion who’s famous for his bone-thudding power and vicious knockouts. 

Does Ngannou Have a Chance?

Francis Ngannou shocked the world when he fought Tyson Fury, the reigning Heavyweight Champion of the World, and many argued that he was robbed of a win. The Cameroonian, who grew up working in a mine, landed a crushing blow on Fury and sent him to the canvas in the third round. 

Ngannou was landing clean punches throughout the fight and, on two of the official scorecards, lost 95-94. Many fans disagreed with the judges and actually believed Ngannou did enough to win the title. Chris Eubank Junior, who was watching ringside, said that Ngannou should’ve won as he landed the heavier shots and was the only fighter to record a knockdown.

The fight had a real Rocky feel to it, as Fury seemed to be completely unprepared for a real boxing match. The Gypsy King expected to just play with Ngannou and hit him whenever he felt like it. However, Fury struggled to land anything of note and when he tried to be aggressive, Ngannou tagged him with counter shots.

The former UFC Champion now has the chance to prove to the world that his fight against Fury wasn’t a fluke. That said, if he’s going to beat Joshua, he needs to throw more punches. Against Fury, Ngannou threw just 231 punches. 

Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a conundrum for Ngannou because if he doesn’t throw enough punches, Joshua will likely be all over him and will unleash combinations without fear of being hit back. But if he does increase his punch rate, he’ll leave openings that Joshua can expose.

However, Ngannou still has a fantastic chance of beating Joshua because the Brit has already been knocked out. Ngannou possesses vicious KO power, and Joshua has a susceptible chin. If the UFC star landed the same type of shot he tried on Fury, but this time on Joshua, the outcome of the fight could be very different…

Of course, Joshua will also be under tremendous pressure during the fight. He knows that if he loses to a boxing novice, his career is effectively over. Expect him to be fighting very stiffly and nervously. Ngannou can exploit this!

What’s AJ’s Strategy?

While AJ is the clear favorite, he needs to execute a sound strategy to get his hand raised. Joshua needs to put pressure on Ngannou from the opening bell. Fury didn’t throw enough punches and let the UFC Champion fight at a slow pace. 

AJ also needs to soften Ngannou up with body punches and fast jabs. Then, once the Cameroonian starts to tire, unleash combinations. Ngannou will try to hide behind his high guard defense, so Joshua should pull on Ngannou’s guard and punch his arms until he can finally find a chink in the UFC star’s armor.

Get the best betting odds for Anthony Joshua vs Franics Ngannou at FuturePlay Sports!

What Awaits the Winner?

Whoever gets the win will then face the winner of Fury vs Usyk. But no matter who wins, it’s going to be a huge fight as fans have been wanting Fury and AJ toe-to-toe for years. The prospect of a Usyk and Joshua trilogy is also pretty hot.

Joshua will most likely win this fight, and he’ll probably do it with more ease than Fury managed, but only if he can handle the pressure and let his hands go. There’s a decent chance that Joshua could get overwhelmed by the moment and start to fold. He has, after all, already tasted the bitter pill of defeat and even been knocked out. All Ngannou needs to do is land one big shot, and the fight’s over!

Tune in on Friday, March 8, 2024, to see if Ngannou can shock the world for the second time or if Joshua can continue his epic comeback as he tries to regain his lost heavyweight crown.

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Usyk Crowned Undisputed Heavyweight Champion After Defeating Fury



Usyk boxing

When Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury met to crown an undisputed heavyweight champion on Saturday, all narratives went out the window. Fury, the bigger and supposedly more powerful man, outboxed Usyk in the first half of the fight. However, Usyk turned the tables with a brutal ninth-round assault, which left Fury stumbling around the ring before crashing to the canvas.

Ultimately, Usyk was crowned the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 1999 and the first of the four-belt era, with two of the three judges scoring the fight in his favor (115-112, 113-114, 114-113).

Recap of the Action

Fury showcased impressive boxing technique early on, countering the expectation that Usyk’s technical prowess would overwhelm him. His effective distance management and clean jabs allowed him to dominate initially, even taunting Usyk as he controlled the action. However, Fury’s tendency to fight off the ropes and move backward raised questions about his approach.

The fight shifted in Round 7 when Usyk’s relentless forward pressure and overhand lefts started landing more frequently. Round 9 was the turning point: Usyk landed several clean shots that sent Fury reeling, and a clean left to Fury’s jaw had him stumbling. Usyk continued to press, eventually knocking Fury down against the ropes. Fury beat the 10-count just as the bell rang, likely saving him from a knockout.

After the knockdown, Usyk maintained his momentum, outworking Fury for the rest of the fight. With this victory, Usyk joins Terence Crawford and Naoya Inoue as the only male fighters to have achieved undisputed status in two weight classes during the four-belt era, having previously been undisputed at cruiserweight.

Frustrated Fury

Despite suffering the first defeat of his storied career, Fury insisted he won the fight and expressed his intention to invoke the rematch clause for another bout in October. He also made a controversial statement implying that the judges might have been influenced by the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Fury suggested that Usyk, the Ukrainian boxer, was awarded the fight because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“You know his country’s at war, so people are siding with the country at war,” Fury said during an in-ring interview. “Make no mistake. I won that fight, and I’ll be back.”

“I believe I won that fight,” Fury said. “I believe he won a few of the rounds, but I won the majority of them.”

Before those remarks, the fighters embraced several times, and Fury had kissed Usyk on the head in a gesture of respect and admiration.

Following Fury’s remarks, water was sprayed in his face by someone from Usyk’s camp, but Usyk quickly gestured for it to stop.

Later in the interview, Fury added, “I believe I won the fight, but I’m not going to sit here and cry and make excuses. It was a good fight.”

Usyk was not asked in the ring about Fury’s comments, but he did express his willingness for a rematch.

“Yes, of course, very much,” Usyk said. “I’m ready for a rematch.”

Shocking TKO

Anthony Cacace stunned the boxing world with an eighth-round TKO victory over Joe Cordina, claiming the IBF world junior lightweight title on Saturday.

Cacace (22-1, 8 KOs), a 35-year-old from Belfast, Northern Ireland, captured his first major world title, ending Cordina’s second reign as champion.

A pivotal moment came in the third round when Cacace caught Cordina with a left hand right after referee Bob Williams had called for the fighters to break. Capitalizing on the moment, Cacace delivered a perfect right uppercut, sending Cordina face-first to the canvas.

After flooring the champion in the third round, Cacace continued to dominate. Cordina (17-1, 9 KOs), a 32-year-old from Cardiff, Wales, managed to recover and clear his head through the fourth round, but Cacace relentlessly landed right uppercuts. According to CompuBox statistics, Cacace landed 116 power punches compared to Cordina’s 41.

Just 39 seconds into the eighth round, Cacace overwhelmed Cordina, who had been struggling since the third round. Cacace’s barrage of punches in the round led to a sensible stoppage. Cordina will now likely consider stepping up a division to recover from his first professional defeat.

Full Card Results:

– Jai Opetaia (c) def. Mairis Briedis via unanimous decision (117-111, 116-112, 116-112)

– Anthony Cacace def. Joe Cordina (c) via eighth-round knockout

– Agit Kabayel def. Frank Sanchez via seventh-round knockout

– Moses Itauma def. Ilja Mezencev via second-round knockout

– Mark Chamberlain def. Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab via first-round knockout

– Robin Sirwan Safar def. Sergey Kovalev via unanimous decision (97-92, 99-90, 95-94)

– David Nyika def. Michael Seitz via sixth-round knockout

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

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Ben Whittaker Takes on Ezra Arenyeka in First Real Test



Ben Whittaker boxing

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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Ben Whittaker’s Showboating Style Has Captivated Boxing Fans



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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