Nigerians everywhere follow the progress of Nigerians everywhere; especially diasporans at the verge of conquering the world. We cheer, praise and support compatriots making progress in different fields. This weekend, Nigerian boxing lovers will join the rest of the global fan base in watching compatriots Anthony Joshua and Lawrence Okolie enter the ring, four hours apart in different bouts, in search of glory at London's Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
For Joshua, the fight is career-defining: he is to face Oleksandr Usyk, the 34-year-old Ukranian undefeated in 353 boxing bouts. Usyk remained the undisputed champion in his cruiserweight boxing class, a level lower than the heavyweight. He became, in 2018, the fourth male boxer in history to hold concurrently the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO boxing titles.
Usyk has vacated his cruiserweight accomplishments to step into the heavyweight boxing class, a more daunting challenge, but one not insurmountable. After all, the boxing world witnessed David Haye and Evander Holyfield who both waltzed into heavyweight titles as cruiserweight champions – the only two people in history to have done so. And given Usyk’s remarkable professional rise and famed breathtaking skills, his credentials qualify him for the heavyweight title.
But his opponent, Joshua, is formidable. The 31-year-old is ranked the world's second-best active heavyweight by The Ring, Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and BoxRec, the three most credible boxing ranking organizations. He is also ranked the seventh-best active boxer, pound for pound, by BoxRec. He currently holds the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles, and will be defending them in this fight. Clearly the bigger of both men, our bookmakers give Joshua a 66.54% chance of victory. Yet, it promises to be the toughest fight of his career – because he might not win after all, in which case Usyk’s deep belief in himself would have paid off. It might help to add, that both men are Olympic boxing gold medalists.
Before the high-profile Joshua vs Usyk fight comes an undercard one between Lawrence Okolie and Dilan Prasovic. Okolie, whose hero is Joshua, is the current WBO World cruiserweight champion, a title he won March this year, after beating Krzysztof Glowacki to the vacant crown. This fight is Okolie’s first defence of the title. A 6ft 5in walking art, Okolie is a burst of creative skills that have found expression in his two other talents: rapping and writing. He vows his cruiserweight title would be the springboard for bigger boxing exploits.
But typical of fights of this caliber, Okolie will square up against an undisputed professional with a record of 12 knockouts from 15 victories. Impressive in the ring, Prasovic attacks fiercely and surprises his opponents. The 26-year-old Montenegrin will be fighting in England for the first time in his career.
In spite of Prasovic’s history and current form, BetBonanza bookmakers give the 28-year-old Okolie a 97.32% chance of winning the bout.
This weekend looks promising for the Nigerian boxing sensations, who share similar history of British citizenship and Nigerian ancestry. And if BetBonanza’s predictions come true, they will coincide with all Nigerian boxing enthusiasts celebrating alongside the rest of the world who placed bets on the two key events.
You can be twice happy – celebrating your compatriots’ wins and making money from your predictions. This is the time to bet on these fights.