Former heavyweight world champion Bermane Stiverne spoke with Betway to discuss the heavyweight division.
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Stiverne, who previously held the WBC heavyweight title, claims Anthony Joshua’s fight against Francis Ngannou is a ‘slap in the face’ to boxing and fighters who are trying to earn the right to challenge for titles and face the big names such as Joshua and Tyson Fury.
Stiverne also stated that if Ngannou was taking boxing seriously, then he would’ve fought another contender inside the world’s top 20 but is instead, choosing money over any serious credibility in the sport.
“I think it is a slap in the face for boxing. I don’t really like these kind of fights because it is hard to get a world title shot in boxing and then this guy comes along and jumps the queue,” said Stiverne. “I didn’t get a title fight with ease, and I like Francis, but this is a fight that is all about money.
“I don’t like seeing these type of fights but this is the new generation of boxing and we just have to accept it. It isn’t right that he was put into the heavyweight rankings but we have to accept this is the business of boxing. I would’ve respected Francis more if he had fought somebody in the top 10 or even top 20 but he won’t do that as it is too much of a risk for him. That’s what a real fighter would’ve done.
“I think Tyson Fury had an off night and he didn’t show up. Anthony Joshua is a different kind of fighter compared to Fury. He’s more aggressive and I think he will make a statement and knock Francis Ngannou out. I believe Joshua is still a very good fighter and will take care of business.”
Fury has nothing to prove after Usyk fight
The former heavyweight star also previewed Fury’s showdown against Oleksandr Usyk, and believes 2024 may be the year that we see the ‘Gypsy King’ hang up the gloves and retire from boxing.
“I think Tyson Fury had an off night against Francis Ngannou and we will see a different fighter against Oleksandr Usyk and I think he wins the fight. He is the bigger fighter and is like a middleweight. He is tall, can move and is awkward so I have to go with Tyson Fury to win that fight.
“Maybe he retires after that fight or he has the Francis Ngannou rematch and to tick all the boxes he fights Anthony Joshua. Fury doesn’t have anything left to prove after the Usyk fight. I’m not classing the Ngannou rematch as a proper fight though.
“The Joshua fight isn’t as big as it was but if Joshua comes through Francis Ngannou then it will create talk of that fight and it would be the biggest fight between two British fighters of all-time. Fury is the favourite to win that fight if he does fight Anthony Joshua, but this is heavyweight boxing and anything can happen,” added Stiverne.
Wilder should retire
“If I am Deontay Wilder I would retire,” Stiverne added. “There is nowhere else for him to go. I don’t think it was a case of inactivity, he just didn’t have the answers and it was the wrong fight for him to take. The Anthony Joshua fight is dead.
“After he knocked out Robert Helenius, he made a statement to the world that he was back but he couldn’t do that against Joseph Parker. He’s still a good fighter but he should be picking opponents rather than accepting somebody like Parker. Now that he has lost to Parker, I just don’t see where he can go. He shouldn’t agree to fighting Zhilei Zhang in Saudi Arabia.
“The fight between Joshua and Wilder should’ve happened years ago before he lost to Andy Ruiz Jr. It is nowhere near the fight that it was and now that Wilder has lost, I don’t see that fight happening.”