Francis Ngannou – Boxing Clever

Part of what makes sport what it is,is the potential for a big upset. Whether it’s an underdog winning a premier league match or a shock winner of a gold medal in an olympic event, some of the most memorable sporting moments involve predicted outcomes, or sure things, being turned on their head. If not for a somewhat controversial judging decision recently we may have had an underdog story for the ages when former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou recently took on undefeated heavyweight boxing champions Tyson Fury at a recent extravegent Saudi fight night event.

Billed as ‘Battle of the Baddest’ beforehand many saw this as little more than a step up from the recent trend of Youtuber match ups, that seemed intended to excite the bank accounts of those taking part far more than the general public (see the recent Tommy Fury vs KSI fight for example). Sure Ngannou is a very strong and talented MMA fighter but transfering those skills overnight to a whole different sport was seen (to the general public and bookmakers) to be leap too far.

On the night though, boxing and MMA fans were in for a treat as Cameroonian-French Ngannou more than held his own against Brit Tyson Fury. In the first round Fury (who declared to his opponent moments before the fight that he intended to ‘take him to school’) landed some big shots, but Ngannou was relatively unfazed by them, and indeed returned the favour. Come the third round and Ngannou was firmly in his stride, and during an attempt by fury to land a couple of powerful combination shots he caught the ‘Gypsy King’ on the side of the head putting him down on the convas. This certainly wasn’t in the script. Round 4 was impressive for ‘The Predator’ too and in round 8 he also had Fury looking on the back foot once again. Much of the rest of the fight was more even, but many thought Ngannou had done enough.

The judges narrowly decided differently though in a split decision. This is boxing of course and whole books could be written about  judges scoring alone. Not to say that this result was a complete injustice, but most would certainly say that there should at least be a rematch. Boxing politics is nothing new, but for his efforts Ngannou walks away with a massively boosted profile, a top ten WBC ranking and a rumoured £8 million (less than Fury’s outrageous £50 million, but still more than he earned during his entire MMA career). Going forward many will be as excited to see Ngannou’s next performance as they will Furys. And I doubt he’ll get caught up in the same boxing politics mindset that plagues both the sport and his contemporaries thinking.

What caused the infamous “Calciopoli” scandal in Italian football, leading to several top clubs being penalised and officials being implicated in match-fixing?

 The infamous “Calciopoli” scandal sent shockwaves through the heart of Italian football in 2006, uncovering a web of match-fixing that implicated several esteemed clubs and tarnished the sport’s integrity. This dark chapter of Italian football history involved revered clubs such as Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina, and Lazio, casting a shadow over their illustrious reputations.

The scandal was thrust into the public eye when Italian authorities intercepted incriminating phone conversations between Luciano Moggi, the former general manager of Juventus, and various referees. These damning conversations revealed Moggi’s attempt to influence referees in favour of Juventus, as well as discussions about match outcomes with other club officials.

The revelation triggered an extensive investigation conducted by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), which uncovered a long-standing match-fixing scheme orchestrated by Moggi. Furthermore, it implicated other club officials in the scandalous affair, revealing the pervasive nature of corruption within the Italian football landscape.

The repercussions of Calciopoli were severe and far-reaching. Juventus, the most high-profile club involved, paid a hefty price, being stripped of their hard-earned Serie A titles from 2005 and 2006, while enduring relegation to Serie B for a season. AC Milan faced a significant deduction of 30 points for the 2006-2007 season and was compelled to play two home matches in empty stadiums. Fiorentina and Lazio also felt the consequences, both suffering a 15-point deduction for the same season.

The Calciopoli scandal dealt a severe blow to Italian football, leaving an indelible stain on its reputation and shaking the faith of fans across the nation. The fallout was palpable, resulting in a decline in attendance at Serie A matches and eroding trust in the FIGC’s ability to govern the sport effectively.

85K Bet on Tiger Woods

 There are several games played where players bet on sports wins, therefore sports betting has its share of some great gambling stories, especially with golf.

The debt-ridden James Adducci, whose mortgage was unpaid and he had outstanding student loans to repay, used his life’s savings of $85,000 to wager on Tiger Woods’ game during the Masters in Augusta, Georgia in April 2019. In the end, he won more than $1.2 million.

A few days before the masters, Adducci had watched the games leading up to the tournament and he had a hunch Woods would win, so he decided to place his first sports wager after gaining his wife’s reluctant approval. In fact, he made the decision a month before to go ahead with the project. Adducci had put a great deal of thought into the decision. It was evident during Tiger’s performance at the Tour Championship that he was doing well, and he seemed to be in good spirits.

As well as the performance he had during that time, he took into account other factors that you cannot measure through statistics, such as his motivation. Although he was paying attention to the stats, his focus wasn’t on them. Because this was his first major tournament in front of his children, he was confident that he would win.

Several publications reported that the Wisconsin day trader used everything he owned to flee his hometown for Las Vegas, and even took a shared Lift to hit the Vegas streets in search of casinos that would accept his bet. Eventually, William Hill decided to accept the wager on behalf of SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. As a result of this move, the sportsbook paid out the largest payout in the history of its U.S. operations for a futures wager.

Arsenal v Southampton

 Having watched their dream title challenge fizzle out recently, Arsenal need to get back on-form – and sharpish. Given the Gunners had a healthy lead in the title, a pair of 2-2 draws where in both games they were 2-0 up are going to be pretty damaging for confidence and self-belief. Can they come out the other side against a Southampton side who are desperately fighting against relegation?

Arsenal News

Given Arsenal games seem to see plenty of goals – the Gunners have scored at least twice in their last seven games – and they have a very strong home record against Southampton, this should be a home banker. However, a growing injury list involving defenders William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko are sure to cause some headaches for Mikel Arteta.

Saliba is out with a back injury, and it is unlikely that Zinchenko returns in time. Kieran Tierney looks set to come back in at left-back.

Southampton News

Saints come into this one with a few injuries, though they will definitely be without Ainsley Maitland-Niles due to being ineligible against his parent club. Tino Livramento is finally back in action, but it is unlikely that he will be risked at the Emirates. Other than that, Mislav Orsic looks set to miss out, while Mohammed Salisu and Che Adams are also both out.

Verdict

Expect an easy home win here. Southampton have been rotten on the road, and Arsenal could not ask for an easier league fixture ahead of their trip to Manchester City in what is likely to be a title decider.

Score Prediction: 3-0