I Wasted My Time On ‘A Coward’, Fury Slams Joshua

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on December 14, 2020, shows Boxer Tyson Fury (L) during a press conference in Los Angeles, California on January 25, 2020, and British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua during a press conference in Ad Diriyah. (Photos by RINGO CHIU and FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP)

 

 

Tyson Fury has stated that the chances of a showdown fight between himself and two-time former unified world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, are not going to materialise.

Their clash was an almost certain signature away from an agreement in December, but talks made no headway, leaving a frustrated Fury to opt for another all-English showdown against Derek Chisora.

Fury who is the WBA heavyweight champion blamed the breakdown in negotiations on Joshua and his team’s refusal to make realistic commitments to its actualisation.

Speaking during his promotional interview for his fight against Chisora, who was the British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion from 2010 to 2011, the Gypsy King said he was done wasting time with Joshua.

“At least I’ve got this to show for all the time I wasted on that big dosser of a coward,” an angry Fury said.

Speaking about Joshua’s supposed evasion, Fury claimed Chisora whom he had beaten in 2010 and  2014  was a much more formidable opponent.

‘The fight didn’t happen because they didn’t want it. After the first seven days of discussions, they never had any intentions of it taking place.

“‘Joshua realised how daunting the task was and he got talked out of it by his people and himself.”

Fury, whose WBC belt will be on the line will face Chisora come December 3 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

 

Fury To Joshua: Sign Title Fight Contract By Monday

A photo combination of Boxer Tyson Fury (L) and British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua. AFP

 

Tyson Fury has set Anthony Joshua a deadline of Monday to sign a contract for their hugely anticipated all-British showdown or forget about facing him for the world heavyweight title.

There have been protracted talks between the two camps of World Boxing Council champion Fury and Joshua, a former holder of the sport’s other major heavyweight titles.

Only last week the deal, based upon a 60-40 split in Fury’s favour, was said to have been accepted by Joshua’s management team.

Veteran promoter Frank Warren said a contract had been sent to Joshua’s camp.

Eddie Hearn, the promoter of Joshua, added minor issues remained to be resolved ahead of a fight expected to take place before the end of this year.

Fury, however, is now convinced Joshua is trying to back out, prompting an expletive-filled social media post about his rival on Friday.

He remained highly critical, if more measured when talking about Joshua on Saturday.

“I was optimistic about three weeks ago but it shouldn’t be taking this long to sign a contract,” Fury said in a video posted on the Twitter feed of Queensberry Promotions.

“We’ll know by Monday anyway because if it’s not done by Monday then I’m moving on.”

“I’m not waiting around for some guy who’s lost three of his last five fights. He’s lucky that I’m giving him a world title shot.”

The 34-year-old added: “He is an invited guest at my party – my rules. So, if you want to play the game, come to the banquet and take your seat.”

Warren, however, remained optimistic the fight would go ahead, telling BT Sport: “There is a meeting taking place on Monday and I am hoping that is going to resolve what I feel is just a few outstanding issues, not for us, but it seems for them.

“Let’s hope they are good as their word and they don’t duck out of it.”

Fury made the offer for a ‘Battle of Britain’ bout with Joshua after it emerged Oleksandr Usyk, the WBO, IBF and WBA champion, had ruled out fighting again until early next year.

Joshua, 32, suffered his second straight loss to the Ukrainian in Saudi Arabia last month.

Fury announced he was retiring on his 34th birthday last month, having previously performed a number of U-turns over his future in the sport.

But in a video posted on social media earlier this month, he challenged Joshua to a showdown.

Anthony Joshua Accepts ‘All Terms’ To Fight Tyson Fury

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on December 14, 2020 shows Boxer Tyson Fury (L) during a press conference in Los Angeles, California on January 25, 2020, and British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua during a press conference in Ad Diriyah, a Unesco-listed heritage site, outside Riyadh, on December 4, 2019. – (Photos by RINGO CHIU and FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP)

 

Two-time heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, has finally accepted to fight Tyson Fury come December 3 in an all-English showdown. taking place in Cardiff, the Welsh capital.

Joshua’s management disclosed this on Tuesday morning via the fighter’s Twitter handle/

“258 and  @MatchroomBoxing can confirm, on behalf of @anthonyjoshua, that we accepted all terms presented to us by Fury’s team for a fight Dec 3rd last Friday. Due to the Queen’s passing, it was agreed to halt all communication.”

“We are awaiting a response,” the tweet concluded.

Fury had issued Joshua a challenge last week giving him two dates to choose for the epic showdown -November 26 at Wembley Stadium or December 3 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. Joshua has now accepted the latter.

Joshua, 32, suffered his second straight defeat to the Ukrainian in Saudi Arabia last month and had planned to make a relatively low-key comeback.

Responding last week to Fury’s offer, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn expressed caution, questioning whether Fury was “serious” about the bout.

The unbeaten Fury announced he was retiring on his 34th birthday last month, having previously performed a number of U-turns over his future in the sport.

But in a video posted on social media last week, he appeared to confirm he had reversed his decision again as he challenged Joshua to a showdown.

Former champion Joshua fell to 24-3 with his latest defeat to Usyk, who retained his WBO, IBF and WBA belts, but a clash with Fury would spark huge interest in Britain.

 

 

Beaten Joshua Admits ‘I Let Myself Down’ With Post-Fight Antics

Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk (L) and Britain's Anthony Joshua (R) compete during the heavyweight boxing rematch for the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF titles, at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah, on August 20, 2022. Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP
Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (L) and Britain’s Anthony Joshua (R) compete during the heavyweight boxing rematch for the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF titles, at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah, on August 20, 2022. Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Anthony Joshua has admitted “I let myself down” after the British heavyweight’s antics following his crushing defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in their world-title showdown in Saudi Arabia were heavily criticised.

Joshua hurled two of Usyk’s belts to the floor and stormed out of the ring in a fit of pique in Jeddah, then returned moments later to deliver a rambling speech peppered with expletives.

The 32-year-old’s career appears at a crossroads after Sunday’s second successive defeat to the unbeaten Ukrainian and he came under fire for his emotional post-fight reaction.

Writing on Twitter, Joshua hailed Usyk as “a class act”, adding: “Yesterday I had to mentally take myself into a dark place to compete for the championship belts!

“I had two fights, one with Usyk and one with my emotions, and both got the better of me.

“I’ll be the first to admit, I let myself down. I acted out of pure passion and emotion and when not controlled it ain’t great.

“I love this sport so so much and I’ll be better from this point on. Respect.”

Tony Bellew, a retired cruiserweight champion who was similarly beaten by Usyk, sprang to Joshua’s defence.

“Made a mistake like everyone else on planet earth has done, only difference is he makes his in front of millions on TV and then comes out (which is hard to do) and apologises to everyone!” the Briton tweeted.

The 6ft 6in (1.98m) Joshua scented victory when he had Usyk hanging on in the ninth round, only for the mobile southpaw to come firing back and control the final stages for a deserved split-decision win.

While Joshua was left trying to rebuild his career after his third defeat, Usyk retained the IBF, WBA and WBO titles and will now seek a unification showdown with WBC champion Tyson Fury.

AFP

Usyk Beats Joshua By Split Decision In Heavyweight Title Fight

Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine (R) in action against Anthony Joshua (L) of Great Britain during boxing rematch under the name of "Rage in the Red Sea" at King Abdullah Sports Complex in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 20, 2022. Ayman Yaqoob / Anadolu Agency
Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine (R) in action against Anthony Joshua (L) of Great Britain during boxing rematch under the name of “Rage in the Red Sea” at King Abdullah Sports Complex in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 20, 2022. Ayman Yaqoob / Anadolu Agency

 

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk won his rematch against Anthony Joshua by split decision to retain his world heavyweight titles in just his fourth fight in the division in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Usyk, 35, who dismantled the defending champion in London last year, faced an improved Joshua but outboxed him once again to set up a potential unification bout with Britain’s Tyson Fury.

“I want to thank God for the help that he gave me today,” Usyk told the crowd at the 12,000-seat King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah.

“I give this victory to my country, to my family, to my team and to all the military who are defending the country,” he added.

The fight was watched on free-to-air TV by millions of Ukrainians living under the Russian invasion. Usyk signed up to fight for his country before accepting the rematch.

An angered Joshua peppered his post-match speech with expletives despite the presence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, de facto ruler of the deeply religious country.

 

 

Anthony Joshua Brushes Off ‘Nonsense’ Retirement Talk

British boxer Anthony Joshua speaks during the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 09, 2020. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom.
Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP

 

 

Heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua called retirement speculation “nonsense” on Wednesday after suggestions he could hang up his gloves if he loses to Oleksandr Usyk again this week.

Joshua, 32, is bidding to reclaim the world titles he lost to Ukraine’s Usyk, who beat the Briton by unanimous decision in London last September.

Some experts have said a third professional defeat could end the career of the former Olympic heavyweight gold medallist — a claim dismissed by Joshua.

“I’m competing with a pound-for-pound (one of the most skilled across all weight classes) fighter,” he told AFP ahead of Saturday’s fight in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

“I’m not losing against some has-been. It’s crazy to suggest I should retire.

“If I would lose to one of the top fighters of the world today (people would say) ‘Oh he should retire, he lost to one of the best’. What type of nonsense is that?”

Joshua remains one of the sport’s biggest draws but his lustre faded with his surprise defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019, and dimmed further when he lost to Usyk last year.

However, he avenged the Ruiz loss in Saudi Arabia, and he is hoping for the same result again in Saturday’s “Rage on the Red Sea” in the coastal city of Jeddah.

“If people really want me to walk away, then cool. I ain’t begging no one,” Joshua said. “People always ask questions and they’re entitled to their questions.

“For me personally, I still want to compete. I love it. It’s challenging, but I love the challenge. Sometimes I question whether I want to do it, it’s that hard.

“It’s not an easy job but I’ve got the will, I’ve got the strength to keep on pushing.”

Joshua: I’m Relying On My Naija Power 100% To Defeat Usyk

British heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua leaves the arena after losing to Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk during their heavyweight boxing match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on September 25, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Former two-time heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua is relying on his “Naija” power as he wraps up preparations to take on Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch on August 20 in Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia.

In an exclusive chat with Channels Sports in London, the British-Nigerian boxer confirmed that it will be another difficult fight but he is determined to win back the belts he lost last year September to Usyk.

When asked if he will be going into the ring with his Naija power, Joshua responded: “100 percent. That’s what got me here so I’m not going to get rid of it now. We are going to take it all the way.”

READ ALSO: Mo Salah Commits Future To Liverpool With New Contract Signing

On September 25th 2021, Usyk put on an incredible show in front of 65,000 fans inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, outclassing Joshua over 12 rounds and that made the Ukrainian the new unified heavyweight world champion. He left the stadium with the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO titles.

 

The war between Russia and Ukraine is on Usyk’s mind but he confirmed he is a professional and has a job to do next month.

“I’m very happy to have my opportunity to have a fight in Saudi Arabia – it opens some new horizons. I love to travel the world. Everything I do in my life, the way I live, the way I fight is enjoyment. I’m not fighting for money or recognition. I don’t want to become a great, I’m just doing my job now and will continue to do so while my heart is beating,” the heavyweight champion said.

The Right Mentality

Joshua now has two losses to his name and on both occasions the Briton was dominated by a smaller opponent. The former champ, has been preparing for the rematch under the guidance of trainer Robert Garcia. He is confident that with the right mentality, his fighter can become a world champion again.

“We have to do whatever it takes, we have to come out with different strategies in case one doesn’t work. Usyk is a great fighter, he came to my gym a few times to train – he’s a talented fighter. Come fight night we will do what we need to win.”

32-year old Joshua understands he needs the right mentality to go against a tough opponent as Usyk. He says it’s less talk now and more focus.

“I’m focused on the goal, God willing, I will perform, and I will become three-time Heavyweight champion of the world. With Andy Ruiz, I think a lot of people can see before the fight things weren’t 100%. You’ve got to be strong, thick skinned; we take our loss like a man. When I win, I keep moving and I thank everybody. When you lose, you have to stay humble as well as in defeat. We kept it moving and I knew I could come back again and do what I have to do.”

Who Wants The Money?

It has been announced that Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk will receive a split 50:50 share of the purse for this fight. the world title fight will have an impressive $80m (£65.4m) sum paid by the host country for the rematch.

Usyk says he is not fighting for the money, Joshua’s eyes are fixed on the titles he lost last year and also get back his respect. So, who wants the money?

There were definitely vital lessons for Joshua from the first fight and when he was asked what he learned that can be useful in the second, he responded confidently, “split his face open.”

First 11: Bid For Chelsea Continues + Other Top Sports Stories Last Week

top sports stories
First 11 captures some of the top sports stories for the week.

 

With just one week to the first leg of the 2022 World Cup playoff showdown with Ghana, there has been so much noise about the encounter. While Nigeria have unveiled their squad, Ghana are yet to do so.

The match venue has also been a major talking point. The draws for the Champions League quarter-finals and the Europa League were also held. Manchester United earlier lost to Atletico Madrid, piling more pressure on a struggling team.

These and other top sports stories this week are captured in First Eleven.


Injury Scare

(Top L-R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, defender Kenneth Omeruo, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, forward Taiwo Awoniyi, midfielder Joe Aribo, defender William Troost-Ekong, (bottom L-R) forward Kelechi Iheanacho, defender Ola Aina, defender Zaidu Sanusi, forward Samuel Chukwueze and forward Moses Simon pose prior to the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Sudan at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 15, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

Nigeria may have reasons to worry ahead of the tie with Ghana following injuries to midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and defender Kenneth Omeruo. Ndidi was taken off the pitch in his side’s loss to Rennes in a Europa Conference League tie on Thursday.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers in a post-game interview said the injury was disappointing but it is unclear when he would recover.


Omeruo Doubtful

Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah (R) fights for the ball with Nigeria's defender Kenneth Omeruo during the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Egypt at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 11, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP
In this file photo, Egypt’s forward Mohamed Salah (R) fights for the ball with Nigeria’s defender Kenneth Omeruo during the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Egypt at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 11, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

His compatriot has not played for Leganes in the last four league games following a groin injury but is expected to make a return this Sunday. The 28-year-old was a mainstay in the heart of Nigeria’s defence at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the year.

Nigeria will now play the waiting game to know if the duo will be fit for the double-legged tie.


Amuneke Backs Okoye

maduka okoye
Maduka Okoye made his debut for Nigeria in 2019 in a friendly game against Brazil. Photo: Sparta Rotterdam

 

And ahead of the clash, Super Eagles chief coach Emmanuel Amuneke has backed Maduka Okoye to retain his place in the team. The youngster came under fire following his performance at the AFCON, especially in the game against Tunisia where the three-time African champions slumped to a shocking defeat.

Amuneke told Brila FM that the German-born goalkeeper may have made a mistake but believes it is not enough to sideline him.


Venue Changed, Ghana Squad Awaited

(Top L-R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, defender Kenneth Omeruo, forward Taiwo Awoniyi, midfielder Joe Aribo, defender William Troost-Ekong, (bottom L-R) forward Kelechi Iheanacho, defender Ola Aina, defender Zaidu Sanusi, forward Moses Simon and forward Samuel Chukwueze pose prior to the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Nigeria and Tunisia at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 23, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

Nigeria’s foes Ghana are yet to announce their squad for the double-legged tie.  Earlier in the week, Ghanaian football authorities confirmed that the venue for the first leg of the encounter has been changed. A Ghana Football Association (GFA) statement said the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi will now host the playoff.  The approval came after a CAF inspection.


Draws for Champions League

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows the UEFA logo at the organization's headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
This file photo taken on February 28, 2020, shows the UEFA logo at the organization’s headquarters in Nyon. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

A day after Leicester City advanced to the next phase of the Europa Conference League, draws for the competition, the Europa League, and the Champions League were held. In one of the most mouth-watering ties in the Champions League, Spanish giants Real Madrid square off against holders Chelsea in the last eight. Manchester City battle Atletico Madrid.

Ndidi’s club will tackle Dutch power house PSV Eindhoven.


Europa League Fixtures

In the Europa League, Barcelona face Eintracht Frankfurt, and Scottish giants, Rangers take on Braga. Other fixtures are West Ham vs Lyon and RB Leipzig vs Atalanta.


Man United Crash Out

Manchester United's English defender Harry Maguire (C) looks to play a pass during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Manchester United and Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north west England on March 15, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Manchester United’s English defender Harry Maguire (C) looks to play a pass during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Manchester United and Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north west England on March 15, 2022.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Before the draws, Manchester United were one of the biggest casualties in the Champions League round of 16. They lost to Atletico 2-1 on aggregate to pile more pressure on a struggling squad.  On the home front, the former European champions are fourth on the league table, one point behind Arsenal who have two games at hand.


Bid For Chelsea Continues

In this file photo taken on August 15, 2016, Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich takes his seat ahead of the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge in London.  Justin TALLIS / AFP

 

As top European teams know their foes in various continental competitions, Chelsea are facing issues off the pitch. On Wednesday, reports emerged that Chicago Cubs owners, the Ricketts family, have confirmed they are leading a consortium to bid to buy English club.

Already, New York merchant bank Raine Group has set a Friday deadline for bids, with Roman Abramovich’s 19-year tenure as owner of the Stamford Bridge club ending.


Clause Activated!

In this file photo, British heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua leaves the arena after losing to Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk during their heavyweight boxing match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on September 25, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Away from football, Joe Joyce’s manager says Anthony Joshua has been contacted but questioned the Nigerian-born boxer’s readiness to take the fight as he waits for a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua activated the clause for a rematch to vie for the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles after Usyk defeated him in September. It is, however, uncertain when Usyk will be ready to make a comeback to the ring as his country has been invaded by Russian forces.


Yusuf Eyes Mitchell 

 

Earlier in the week, Sodiq Yusuff defeated Alex Caceres at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, winning by a unanimous decision. Following the win, he expressed eagerness to face Bryce Mitchell in the next fight

“I really want to test myself against Arkansas’ finest,” the Nigerian said. “I’d really like to fight Bryce Mitchell.”


Brume Eyes History

Bronze medallist, Nigeria’s Ese Brume poses on the podium after the women’s long jump event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

 

Going to athletics, Nigeria’s Ese Brume is eyeing a historic medal as the World Indoors Championship begins.

The Olympics long jump bronze medalist wants to become the only third Nigerian to win medals in all three global athletics championships including the Olympics.

She has clinched bronze at the World Outdoor Championships in 2019 and is hoping to join Glory Alozie and late Sunday Bada as athletes who have won medals at the World Athletics Championships indoors and out and the Olympics.

First 11: Nigeria’s AFCON Crash + This Week’s Biggest Sports Stories

First-Eleven

 

It’s been a week of drama at the Africa Cup of Nations. Nigeria’s shocking loss to Tunisia, and the red cards that marred the competition, were major talking points in the last seven days. Heartbroken fans trolled Maduka Okoye and Alex Iwobi following the defeat which sent out one of the tournament favourites.

These stories, FIFA’s linking of plans for a biennial World Cup to migration tragedies in the Mediterranean and others, headline First Eleven which gives a recap of the biggest sports gist for the week.

Tunisia Clip Eagles’ Wings

Tunisia’s players celebrate after winning the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Nigeria and Tunisia at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 23, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

The week began on a sad note for football fans in Nigeria after the Super Eagles’ early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). Nigeria, three-time continental champions, were stunned 0-1 by Tunisia in a Round of 16 game in Cameroon.

Austine Eguavoen’s men went into the game as favourites having won all three group stage matches, the only team to do so. But a 47th-minute strike was enough for the North Africans to break the hearts of millions of fans in Nigeria. Although Nigeria battled to get the equaliser, a red card for former Arsenal star, Alex Iwobi, compounded the Super Eagles’ woes.

Fans Troll Okoye, Iwobi

A photo combination of Maduka Okoye and Alex Iwobi.

 

Iwobi’s sending off triggered a barrage of cyberattacks, not just on the midfielder but goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye. The Sparta Rotterdam man was faulted for not doing enough to stop the 2004 champions from scoring the lone goal in the match. Both were subjects of hate messages from fans who blamed the duo for the Super Eagles’ exit. Their names trended for days on social media, prompting them to disable comments on their Instagram accounts. Okoye, some of the fans claimed, was distracted by praises from female admirers.

Following the defeat, President Muhammadu Buhari had told Nigerians not to write off the team. In a short message on Monday, he asked fans to encourage the side, believing that they can do better in subsequent games.

“They gave everyone the confidence that they were up to it, and I am sure it was something they could have achieved,” a statement from a presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, read. “Nonetheless, we should not write them off”.

Red Cards Mar AFCON

The AFCON was tagged by many as a “tournament of red cards” following the number of players that were sent off in the competition.

 

Nigeria’s loss wasn’t the only thing that made headlines from the AFCON. In the first round of knockout fixtures, seven red cards were issued in eight games.  The development drew condemnation from several quarters. Fans on social media even dubbed the competition “AFCON of Red Cards”, throwing up further debates about the quality of officiating at Africa’s premier championship.

Coach Eguavoen was critical of centre referee, Maguette Ndiaye’s dismissal of the Everton star, describing the officiating as unfair. Aside from the former defender, Ghanaian ex-international, Mikel Essien, also questioned the number of red cards in the tournament. The former Chelsea player while lamenting the situation said it was “shocking” and wondered if the game had become soft.

Tragedy Rocks Tournament 

Supporters of the Comoros national soccer team celebrate their team goal during the match Cameroon vs Comoros in Moroni on Jan 24, 2022. Ibrahim YOUSSOUF / AFP

 

The red car controversy came amid a stampede that killed eight persons and wounded dozens of others before a match between the host nation, Cameroon, and Comoros.  The incident took place at the gates where final tickets checks are made. This prompted an investigation by Cameroonian authorities. The health ministry said the victims were immediately transported in ambulances but traffic slowed down their movement.

In a swift response to the tragedy, CAF blamed the incident on the closure of an entry gate at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde.

“If that gate was open as it was supposed to, we wouldn’t have had this problem we have now, this loss of life,” African football supremo, Patrice Motsepe, said during a press conference on Tuesday. “Who closed that gate? Who is responsible for that gate?”

A Case For Biennial World Cup

File photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks during the inauguration of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) new headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on October 30, 2018. Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

The stampede happened days before FIFA tried to link migration tragedies in the Mediterranean to plans for a World Cup every two years.  Head of the football governing body, Gianni Infantino, said the move can give hope to migrants.

“I understand in Europe the World Cup takes place twice per week because the best players are playing in Europe,” he told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg.

“But if we think about the rest of the world… which doesn’t see the best players, which doesn’t participate in the top competitions, then we have to think about what football brings, which goes beyond the sport.”

Nadal Chases Record In Australia

 

Just as FIFA continues to make a case for a biennial World Cup, tennis stars are in Australia battling for one of the game’s biggest prizes. In a tempestuous match on Friday, Daniil Medvedev powered to a win over Stefanos Tsitsipas to book a date with Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open.  The world number two beat Tsitsipas 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, the same day Nadal defeated Matteo Berrettini to reach his sixth Australian Open final in Melbourne. The Spaniard, pushing to become the all-all time men’s Grand Slam leader – 21 titles – claimed a 3-6 2-6 6-3 3-6 win.

The women’s category saw a ruthless Ashleigh Barty book a spot in the final. She won in straight-sets, demolishing Madison Keys, and will now face hard-hitting Danielle Collins in Sunday’s game.

Djokovic Still In The Court

In this file photo, Novak Djokovic of Serbia takes part in a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 13, 2022. Mike FREY / AFP

 

Although he is not in Australia, a leaked entry list, which made its way to social media, has indicated that Novak Djokovic would be playing at next month’s ATP Dubai tennis tournament. The Serb was in the news weeks ago after a COVID-19 vaccination row. But the list shared by tennis journalists showed that Djokovic was named as the top seed for the event.

This is coming weeks after he was deported by Australian authorities following a legal tussle. The unvaccinated player’s next move had become a subject of speculation since he landed at home in Belgrade, via Dubai. He was initially given an exemption to play at the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated but the Australian government later revoked his visa, a move upheld by the Federal Court.

Ranieri Fired 

In this file photo taken on April 01, 2018, ex-Nantes’ Italian head coach Claudio Ranieri attends the French L1 football match between Nantes and Saint-Etienne at The La Beaujoire Stadium in Nantes. LOIC VENANCE / AFP

 

Earlier in the week, the English Premier League “sack race” continued. This time, Italian manager, Claudio Ranieri, was the latest casualty following his dismissal by Watford. He was sacked just after 14 games in charge as the Hornets’ boss, the club said in a statement earlier in the week. Ranieri was dismissed, just about three months after he got the job.

“The Hornets’ Board recognises Claudio as a man of great integrity and honour, who will always be respected here at Vicarage Road for his efforts in leading the team with dignity,” Watford said about the Italian.

The 70-year-old was brought on to stabilise the team which is battling relegation. But a string of poor results have left them in the murky waters of England’s elite league. The Hornets have only managed seven points since he arrived at the Vicarage Road. Ranieri’s last game in charge was a 3-0 loss to relegation rivals, Norwich, just last week. They are second bottom on the league log, following a loss of seven out of their last eight domestic matches.

Joshua Denies Pay Off Claims

In this file photo, Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk (L) fights British heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua at the end of their heavyweight boxing match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on September 25, 2021. Usyk defeated Joshua on points. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

In boxing, Anthony Joshua has refuted reports claiming he agreed to a ($20 million deal to step aside from his heavyweight title re-match with Oleksandr Usyk. The reports had suggested that the Nigerian was ready to let the Ukrainian fight Tyson Fury in the unification title bout. But Joshua insisted the stories were false.

“I’m hearing people saying: ‘AJ accepts £15million to step aside’. I ain’t signed no contract; I ain’t seen no contract,” he was quoted as saying in a Talksport online video posted on Twitter. “So, as it stands, stop listening to the bullshit until it comes from me. I’m the man in control of my own destiny; I’m the man that handles my business.”

Usyk had defeated Joshua in September to deprive the 32-year-old of his World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF), and World Boxing Organization (WBO) belts.

Buhari’s Message To Olympians

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

And as the Winter Olympics inches closer, President Buhari has urged Nigerian athletes to make the country proud in the games. A statement from the presidency on Tuesday quoted Buhari as telling the nation’s representatives of his trust in their ability to deliver.

“The President trusts that Nigerian athletes participating in different events will excel at the competition, surpassing the previous record in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018, when the nation competed for the first time,”  the Nigerian leader told the athletes, according to a statement from Femi Adesina.

Buhari said the Olympic Games is an avenue to foster friendship among countries. This is as he hoped that athletes will put the core values of the event –  excellence, friendship, and respect – on display.

Joshua Denies £15m Pay-Off To Step Aside For Fury-Usyk

A photo combination of Tyson Fury and AJ.

 

Anthony Joshua said Monday “I’m in control of my own destiny” as he insisted reports he had agreed a £15 million ($20 million, 18 million euros) deal step aside from his world heavyweight title re-match with Oleksandr Usyk were false.

Several stories in the UK national press suggested that Joshua was willing to allow Ukraine’s Usyk to fight Tyson Fury in a unification title bout.

But Joshua, speaking in a Talksport online video posted on Twitter, said: “You know what’s mad about all these interviews I see?

“I see certain interviews that quote what I said and I think to myself, ‘I haven’t done no interviews’.”

The 32-year-old added: “I’m hearing people saying: ‘AJ accepts £15million to step aside’. I ain’t signed no contract; I ain’t seen no contract.

READ ALSO: Don’t Write Off Super Eagles, Buhari Tells Nigerians After AFCON Exit

“So as it stands, stop listening to the bullshit until it comes from me. I’m the man in control of my own destiny, I’m the man that handles my business.”

Usyk gave a boxing masterclass in recording a unanimous points victory to deprive Joshua of his World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) belts in front of the dethroned champion’s home crowd at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

By extending his unbeaten professional record, Usyk also delayed the prospects of an all-British unification bout between Joshua and Fury.

In October, Fury defeated Deontay Wilder to retain his World Boxing Council belt.

The WBC have since said Fury must face mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte in his next title defence, although boxing history indicates that such objections need not get in the way of a bout with Usyk instead if the financial terms are agreeable to all concerned.

Joshua, who has a rematch clause in his contract with Usyk, said: “I’m a smart individual and I make calculated decisions every step of the way…If I tell you something then you know it’s real.”

AFP

EFCC Arraigns Suspected Impostors Of Anthony Joshua Over £15,000 Fraud

British boxer Anthony Joshua speaks during the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 09, 2020. Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP

 

Two suspected Internet fraudsters – Ukhuriegbe Irekpitan and Onyekwa Chinedum – have been arraigned for the alleged impersonation of Nigerian-British heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua.

The duo was arraigned on Monday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice S. M. Shuaibu of the Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State on a two-count charge each of impersonation.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, spokesman for the anti-graft agency Wilson Uwujaren said each of the defendants faces two counts.

The defendants were accused of allegedly sending electronic messages to two ladies and defrauding them of the sums of £10,000 and £5,491,23 respectively in London, the capital of England sometime in 2019.

Their offences are said to be punishable under section 14 (2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.

Charges

One of the charges against one of Joshua’s alleged impostors reads, “that you Onyekwe Joshua Chinedum (a.k.a Anthony Joshua) sometime in 2019 did with intent to defraud sent electronic messages which materially misrepresent facts to Samantha Johnson, a lady in London which messages she relied upon and which made her suffer financial loss in the sum of £10,000 thereby committing an offence punishable under section 14 (2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.”

One of the charges against Ukhuriegbe Glory Irekpitan reads: “That you Ukhuriegbe Glory Irekpitan sometime in 2018 did with intent to defraud sent electronic messages which materially misrepresent facts to Mrs Zahra  Bagun, a lady in London which messages she relied on and which caused her to suffer the financial loss in the sum of £5,491.23 pounds, the equivalent of N2,306,220 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14(2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.”

Not Guilty

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

On his part, the prosecution counsel, I.M. Elody, asked for a trial date and for the defendants to be remanded in the custody of the Correctional Service.

The counsel to the defendants pleaded with the court to remand them in EFCC custody, a move that was opposed by the EFCC counsel.

Justice Shuaibu thereafter adjourned the matter till October 21 and ordered that the defendants be remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre in Benin City.

Joshua Admits He Has ‘Learnt His Lesson’ After Usyk Defeat

British heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua leaves the arena after losing to Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk during their heavyweight boxing match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on September 25, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Anthony Joshua says he has learnt his lesson after losing his world heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk in London at the weekend.

Usyk outpointed Joshua on all three judges’ scorecards as he wrested the WBA, IBF and WBO titles away from the British boxer in front of a crowd of more than 66,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Joshua cut a surprisingly relaxed figure in the early hours of Sunday as he gave his initial thoughts on just the second defeat of his 26-fight professional career despite having greater height, reach and weight than his Ukrainian opponent.

In a social media post on Thursday, the 31-year-old said: “I’ve watched the fight, analysed my preparations and identified my mistakes. I’ve learnt my lesson.

“Thanks for sending love & checking in. Don’t worry about me. My spirit is strong!”

Both camps are keen to activate a rematch clause, with Usyk hoping to take on Joshua in front of his home crowd in Kiev, although Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, suggested a second fight would likely take place in Britain again on economic grounds.

Joshua’s defeat has scuppered hopes of a “Battle of Britain” unification heavyweight title clash with Tyson Fury.

Fellow British heavyweight Fury defends his WBC title when he meets Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on October 9 — the third meeting between the boxers following a split-decision draw and a victory for Fury.

“My advice to Joshua in the rematch is, get stuck in the best way he knows how, put his best foot forward and swing away, Jack, swing away,” Fury said on Wednesday.

“Was I absolutely wounded that (Usyk) won? Yes, I was. I was hoping Joshua could win the fight, but he couldn’t — and that’s none of my business.

“The only thing I’m bothered about is beating Deontay Wilder, and that’s the most dangerous heavyweight out there. In my opinion, Wilder beats Joshua, Usyk, all the rest of the division, comfortably — but he cannot beat me.”

AFP