January 2024: Another Split-Decision for Mayer; Joshua-Ngannou Announced
Time stands still for nobody and no fighter. It’s already February 2024, and it’s time to reflect on the prior month. Mikaela Mayer endured another split decision in her career, this time against Natasha Jonas. The powers will announce another heavyweight megafight in Saudi Arabia as Anthony Joshua takes on Francis Ngannou.
Mayer On Wrong End of Split Decision, Again
Mikaela Mayer must be bored of this, another split decision loss in England. This time in a much heavier division, she still couldn’t get on the right side of the judge’s scorecard, albeit narrowly. Natasha Jonas joins Alycia Baumgardner on the list of opponents that Mayer could have defeated on another night with another set of judges. Instead, Mayer has now lost two of her biggest fights to date. Mayer could probably push for a re-match but should be wary of accepting it on British soil as she can’t seem to get a decision on that side of the Atlantic.
Mayer was visibly distraught with the result in footage released at the end of the match on social media, but her training team quickly told her that it was extremely close. If a re-match is scheduled, it could occur with three-minute rounds as both Mayer and Jonas were pushing to have the same rules as men’s boxing in their fight.
Saudi Arabia Keeps Stranglehold on Heavyweight Boxing
Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou is the latest heavyweight boxing match to be announced by Saudi Arabian officials as part of their grand plan to host every sporting event ever. While the spectacle will be an enjoyable exhibition for boxing and MMA fans, what does this fight achieve for the wider boxing world? Does it make Joshua a more credible challenger for the heavyweight straps? Not really, because Ngannou isn’t primarily a boxer. It’s just another flex of financial muscle designed to earn more money and attract PPV buys.
On the same card, as the regime has a genuine interest in monopolizing all heavyweight boxing, a bout between Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker has been announced as the precursor to the main event. In January, the Chinese veteran did everything he could to secure a big fight by making outrageous claims on social media, trying to make waves in recent boxing news by stating that he would KO every other heavyweight under the sun, etc. Unlike the main event, this fight will move the needle in the heavyweight division, with the victor emerging as the WBO interim heavyweight champ and as a real contender to the winner of the Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk fight.
Beterbiev Retains Light Heavyweight Straps
It was a big month for Artur Beterbiev. The man who relocated to Montreal, Quebec, to pursue a boxing career over ten years ago headlined a card at the Vidéotron Centre in Quebec City, defending his three light heavyweight championships against Callum Smith. He didn’t disappoint anyone at the fight as he continued his 100% KO rate, stopping the British boxer in the seventh round. Now, with 20 knockouts in 20 victories and no losses, he’s likened to the greatest knockout artists in boxing. Some boxing news websites speculate he should step up to heavyweight for greater competition, having conquered the light heavyweight ranks.
Munguia Goes 43-0
Do not adjust your set or device; you read that right. Jaime Munguía has had 43 professional fights and won them all. Of course, being from the mean streets of Tijuana, Mexico, many contests were little more than legalized street fights. Yet at the end of January 2024, he retained his WBC Silver super middleweight title by stopping John Ryder in the ninth round, smashing British boxing hopes of having another champion. Munguía will be looking to fight again this year, where he can potentially look for a higher caliber championship.
Inoue Hints at Tokyo Dome Venue
Naoya Inoue should be considered one of the greatest Japanese boxers of all time, having gone 26-0 with another KO victory on Boxing Day 2023 to become the undisputed super-bantamweight champion. Given his achievements, he’s one of the greatest in the entire division. While Japan is classically more interested in sumo, baseball, and soccer, the country is turning to boxing with a legend making waves in the division.
Now, with a magnifying glass on his career, the promoters are wary of losing out on ticket sales by holding another fight at Ariake Arena. Instead, the rumors are that he will make his first defense as undisputed champion at the iconic Tokyo Dome. Mike Tyson famously made trending boxing news when he fought at this Japanese venue toward the end of his career. Inoue would surely break attendance records as he enters as the champion at the height of his career. The Mexican mandatory challenger, Luis Nery, is rumored to be standing across the ring from him for this big fight.
Jake Paul Announces Fight Against Boxer…Sort Of
In his ever-annoying question to become a respected boxer via social media, soft drinks salesman Jake Paul has announced another boxing fight. This time, he will contest the battle with a man who has a record in the sport and has won titles before…well, sort of. Ryan Bourland won the Golden Gloves award, which is the type of recognition that goes completely disregarded on boxing resumes because the certificate isn’t worth the printed paper and is undoubtedly not an accolade that excites boxing news websites. Many years on, however, it has earned him a fight with the head honcho of Prime drinks.
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By Dean McHugh